Editors' ChoiceNeuroscience

Modulating Myelination

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Sci. Signal.  20 Sep 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 191, pp. ec264
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.4191ec264

How neural impulse activity can regulate myelin formation is unclear. Wake et al. (see the Perspective by Araque and Navarrete) cultured neurons taken from mouse dorsal root ganglia with rat oligodendrocyte precursor cells. After inhibition of neuronal neurotransmitter release, myelination was also inhibited. Neuronal activity affected localized translation of myelin basic protein at the periphery of the myelinating cell. This interaction would stimulate myelin formation preferentially on individual axons that are electrically active—the critical requirement for myelin participation in activity-dependent development, information processing, and learning.

H. Wake, P. R. Lee, R. D. Fields, Control of local protein synthesis and initial events in myelination by action potentials. Science 333, 1647–1651 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]

A. Araque, M. Navarrete, Electrically driven insulation in the central nervous system. Science 333, 1587–1588 (2011). [Abstract] [Full Text]