Live imaging in the CNS: new insights on oligodendrocyte form, function and plasticity

Live imaging in the CNS: new insights on oligodendrocyte form, function and plasticity
Theme: Neurons and glia: intrinsic properties, cell biology and cell types

Wednesday 26th April, 09:30 – 11:10

Recent years have seen a rapid expansion in our understanding of oligodendrocyte and myelin biology. First recognized for its role in enhancing conduction velocity, myelin is now understood to be more nuanced in modulating neural circuits by regulating synchrony between brain regions, metabolically supporting axons, and adapting with changes in animal behaviour or circuit activity. Oligodendrocytes and their progenitors are now recognised to display numerous behaviours driven by neural activity that collectively guide their differentiation and myelination in the developing and adult CNS, and influence their ability to replace myelin sheaths lost to injury and disease. The fine structure of myelinating oligodendrocytes is also being revised: Recent studies reveal chains of internodes, isolated from the soma, and connected to one another by cytoplasmic bridges, and identify the existence of cytoplasmic channels within myelin through which molecular cargoes traffic to the axon. Knowledge of these dynamic events and novel morphologies has been catalysed by the application of live-imaging approaches across a range of model systems spanning myelinating cell cultures to in vivo imaging of oligodendrocytes in the cerebral cortex. Findings from these imaging studies are illuminating previously hidden features of myelination, and challenging long-held views of oligodendrocyte biology. This symposium captures these developments by presenting new findings obtained from a spectrum of model systems and imaging approaches, that together are re-shaping our understanding of myelin form and function.

  • Daniel Fulton, University of Birmingham, UK: Live-imaging of oligodendrocyte myelination and plasticity in forebrain slice cultures (co-chair)
  • Cody Call, Oregon Health and Science University, USA: Paranodal bridges link chains of myelin sheaths that are vulnerable to age-related degeneration (co-chair)
  • Julia Edgar, University of Glasgow, UK: Live imaging cargoes in myelin’s highway to the axon
  • Jenea Bin, University of Edinburgh, UK: Live-imaging Myelinated Axon Development in Zebrafish

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