5 years ago

Myelin and oligodendrocyte lineage cells in white matter pathology and plasticity after traumatic brain injury

Impact to the head or rapid head acceleration–deceleration can cause traumatic brain injury (TBI) with a characteristic pathology of traumatic axonal injury (TAI) and secondary damage in white matter tracts. Myelin and oligodendrocyte lineage cells have significant roles in the progression of white matter pathology after TBI and in the potential for plasticity and subsequent recovery. The myelination pattern of specific brain regions, such as frontal cortex, may also increase susceptibility to neurodegeneration and psychiatric symptoms after TBI. White matter pathology after TBI depends on the extent and distribution of axon damage, microhemorrhages and/or neuroinflammation. TAI occurs in a pattern of damaged axons dispersed among intact axons in white matter tracts. TAI accompanied by bleeding and/or inflammation produces focal regions of overt tissue destruction, resulting in loss of both axons and myelin. White matter regions with TAI may also exhibit demyelination of intact axons. Demyelinated axons that remain viable have the potential for remyelination and recovery of function. Indeed, animal models of TBI have demonstrated demyelination that is associated with evidence of remyelination, including oligodendrocyte progenitor cell proliferation, generation of new oligodendrocytes, and formation of thinner myelin. Changes in neuronal activity that accompany TBI may also involve myelin remodeling, which modifies conduction efficiency along intact myelinated fibers. Thus, effective remyelination and myelin remodeling may be neurobiological substrates of plasticity in neuronal circuits that require long-distance communication. This perspective integrates findings from multiple contexts to propose a model of myelin and oligodendrocyte lineage cell relevance in white matter injury after TBI. This article is part of the Special Issue entitled ‘Oligodendrocytes in Health and Disease’.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0028390815001586

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