Med. Weter. 2019, 75 (8), 465-471

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Oligodendrocytes: Morphology, functions and involvement in neurodegenerative diseases
Oligodendrocytes (OLs) are myelinating cells of the central nervous system (CNS). They are a highly specialized type of glial cell in the CNS of vertebrates, which guarantee the transmission of action potentials over long distances by producing a myelin sheath that wraps adjacent axons. Although they are often credited merely with participation in myelination, recent research has led to a radical change in the understanding the role of these glial cells. OLs are currently understood to be plastic and adaptive cells, capable of responding quickly to changes taking place in the spatial neuronal network in the CNS. Due to their complex differentiation process and their physiology, OLs are among the most sensitive cells in the CNS. Finding answers about their interactions with other types of glial cells may result in benefits in the form of neuroprotection and axon plasticity. Damage to OLs and the myelin sheath is one of processes contributing to the development of crippling neurological diseases, although the role of these cells in neurodegeneration remains controversial. This article not only presents OLs as cells whose ultimate goal is to produce myelin sheaths, but also discusses their involvement in neurodegenerative diseases.
Keywords: oligodendrocytes, central nervous system, myelin, neurodegenerative diseases.