Oligodendrocytes are the cells of the vertebrate central nervous system responsible for forming myelin sheaths, which are essential for the rapid propagation of action potential. The formation of oligodendrocytes and myelin sheaths is tightly regulated, both temporally and spatially, by a number of extracellular and intracellular factors. For example, notch ligands, thyroid hormones, and mitogens such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and fibroblast growth factor (FGF) can all interact with oligodendrocyte precursor cell-expressed receptors to impact proliferation, differentiation, and myelin gene expression. To facilitate oligodendrocyte biology research, we have developed a technique using immunopanning to isolate different stages of the oligodendrocyte lineage, oligodendrocyte precursor cells and/or postmitotic oligodendrocytes, from postnatal rat or mouse brains. These cells can be cultured in defined, serum-free media in conditions that either promote differentiation into mature oligodendrocytes or continued proliferation as immature oligodendrocyte precursors. These cells represent an ideal system in which to study the regulation of oligodendrocyte proliferation, migration, differentiation, myelin gene expression, or other fundamental aspects of oligodendrocyte biology.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)