Myelin plasticity, neural activity, and traumatic neural injury.
Kondiles BR, Horner PJ
The possibility that adult organisms exhibit myelin plasticity has recently become a topic of great interest. Many researchers are exploring the role of myelin growth and adaptation in daily functions such as memory and motor learning. Here we consider evidence for three different potential categories of myelin plasticity: the myelination of previously bare axons, remodeling of existing sheaths, and the removal of a sheath with replacement by a new internode. We also review evidence that points to the importance of neural activity as a mechanism by which oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) are cued to differentiate into myelinating oligodendrocytes, which may potentially be an important component of myelin plasticity. Finally, we discuss demyelination in the context of traumatic neural injury and present an argument for altering neural activity as a potential therapeutic target for remyelination following injury.