Oligodendrocyte pathology in neurodegenerative disease

Richard A. Armstrong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Oligodendrocytes have multiple functions in the central nervous system including mechanical support of neurons, production of myelin sheaths, and uptake and inactivation of chemical neurotransmitters released by neurons. Consequently, oligodendrocytes could be involved in the pathology of a number of neurodegenerative diseases. Although, the molecular mechanisms involved require further elucidation, it is likely that oligodendrocyte dysfunction is important in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and multiple sclerosis (MS). In addition, abnormal protein aggregates in the form of oligodendrocyte inclusions (OI) have been observed in several other disorders, most notable in multiple system atrophy (MSA), in which the glial cytoplasmic inclusion (GCI) is the ‘signature’ pathology of the disease. OI have also been identified in argyrophilic grain disease (AGD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) (Armstrong et al 2007), and various forms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) (Armstrong et al 2010), although their role in the pathology of these disorders is less clear. It is likely that future research will expand the range of disorders in which oligodendrocytes play a significant role in neurodegeneration.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOligodendrocytes
Subtitle of host publicationbiology, function and role in the pathology of disease
EditorsDana Swanson
Place of PublicationHauppauge, NY (US)
PublisherNova science
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-63483-361-5
ISBN (Print)978-1-63483-330-1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2015

Publication series

NameNeuroscience research progress
PublisherNova Science Publishers


  • oligodendrocyte
  • oligodendroglial inclusion (GI)
  • Alzheimer's desease
  • amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • multiple sclerosis
  • multiple system atrophy


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