Background: Neuroinflammatory diseases that affect spinal cord or associated spinal
nerves represent challenging conditions for management in current medicine because of
their complex pathology, poor prognosis, and high morbidity, which strikingly reduces the
quality of life of patients. In this sense, a better understanding of the cellular and molecular
mechanisms of spinal cord neuroinflammation might contribute to the development of novel
therapies. Oligodendrocytes have unique and vital biological properties in central nervous
system (CNS) homeostasis and physiology. A growing body of experimental evidence demonstrates
that these glial cells are involved in the pathophysiological mechanisms underlying
many chronic, neurodegenerative, and incapacitating CNS disorders. These cells also have
important implications for the development and maintenance of neural plasticity and chronic
pain states. On the other hand, evidence indicates that oligodendrocytes and their products
may act in favor of CNS promoting beneficial effects orchestrating CNS tissue repair after
Objective: The present review aims to explore the multi-faceted actions of spinal cord oligodendrocyte
progenitors cells (OPCs) and mature oligodendrocytes in CNS inflammation
and pathology, addressing their roles in experimental and clinical settings. A major focus was
given to spinal cord amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis (MS)/experimental autoimmune
encephalomyelitis (EAE), traumatic injury and pain processing.
Methods: This review analyses and discusses published original research articles regarding
the role of OPCs/oligodendrocytes in spinal cord inflammation and pain processing.
Results and Conclusion: Findings from a number of clinical and experimental paradigms
suggest spinal cord OPCs/oligodendrocytes are a potential therapeutic target for the control of
Keywords: OPCs, oligodendrocytes, myelin, spinal cord, neuroinflammation, and central sensitization.
Rights & PermissionsPrintExport