A Matter of State: Diversity in Oligodendrocyte Lineage Cells

Yasmine Kamen, Helena Pivonkova, Kimberley A. Evans, Ragnhildur Þóra Káradóttir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) give rise to oligodendrocytes which myelinate axons in the central nervous system. Although classically thought to be a homogeneous population, OPCs are reported to have different developmental origins and display regional and temporal diversity in their transcriptome, response to growth factors, and physiological properties. Similarly, evidence is accumulating that myelinating oligodendrocytes display transcriptional heterogeneity. Analyzing this reported heterogeneity suggests that OPCs, and perhaps also myelinating oligodendrocytes, may exist in different functional cell states. Here, we review the evidence indicating that OPCs and oligodendrocytes are diverse, and we discuss the implications of functional OPC states for myelination in the adult brain and for myelin repair.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2021

Bibliographical note

The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: We would like to thank our funders: the European Research Council (ERC: the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme grant agreement no. 771411: RTK, KAE); the Wellcome (studentship award 102160/Z/13/Z: YK; and Pathfinder Award 204488/Z/16/Z: RTK, HP); The Fonds de recherche du Québec-Santé (a scholarship, YK); The Cambridge Commonwealth European & International Trust (a scholarship, YK); and the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine (a research prize, RTK). The funders had no role in decision to publish or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Other keywords

  • cell states
  • glia
  • heterogeneity
  • ion channels
  • myelin
  • neurotransmitter
  • oligodendrocyte
  • oligodendrocyte precursor cell
  • OPC


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