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Developmental Neurobiology

Wiley Online Library : Developmental Neurobiology

Published: 2018-02-01T00:00:00-05:00


Microglial Interaction with the Neurovascular System in Physiology and Pathology


Microglia as immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS) play significant roles not only in pathology but also in physiology, such as shaping of the CNS during development and its proper maintenance in maturity. Emerging research is showing a close association between microglia and neurovasculature that is critical for brain energy supply. In this review, we summarize the current literature on microglial interaction with the vascular system in the normal and diseased brain. First, we highlight data that indicate interesting potential involvement of microglia in developmental angiogenesis. Then we discuss the evidence for microglial participation with the vasculature in neuropathologies from brain tumors to acute injuries such as ischemic stroke to chronic neurodegenerative conditions. We conclude by suggesting future areas of research to advance the field in light of current technical progress and outstanding questions. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

New Frontiers in RNA Transport and Local Translation in Neurons


RNA localization to neuronal dendrites and axons is increasingly recognized as a significant and widespread mechanism of gene expression control in neurons. High-throughput RNA sequencing is rapidly expanding the universe of known localized mRNAs. Although there are inherent difficulties in preparing sequencing libraries from dendrites and axons in the context of intact brain, genetic labeling strategies have paved the way for improved studies of this type. As the list of localized mRNAs grows, there is increasing need for functional validation of localized transcripts – that is, do particular localized transcripts serve demonstrable physiologic functions in axons or dendrites? Finally, specific details about what localized mRNAs do once they reach distal processes have long been elusive. Recent work using single-molecule imaging and other techniques is starting to fill in the picture of how transcripts navigate the localized environment and undergo activity-dependent translational de-repression. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Cerebellar microglia are dynamically unique and survey Purkinje neurons in vivo


Microglia are the innate immune cells of the central nervous system and are also important participants in normal development and synaptic plasticity. Here, we demonstrate that the microglia of the mouse cerebellum represent a unique population compared to cortical microglia. Microglia are more sparsely distributed within the cerebellum and have a markedly less ramified morphology compared to their cortical counterparts. Using time-lapse in vivo imaging, we found that these differences in distribution and morphology ultimately lead to decreased parenchymal surveillance by cerebellar microglia. We also observed a novel form of somal motility in cerebellar microglia in vivo, which has not been described in cortical populations. We captured microglial interactions with Purkinje neurons in vivo. Cerebellar microglia interact dynamically with both the dendritic arbors and somas of Purkinje neurons. These findings suggest that cerebellar microglia are physiologically distinct from cortical populations and that these differences may ultimately alter how they could contribute to plasticity and disease processes in the cerebellum. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 00: 000–000, 2017

Sexual dimorphism of microglia and synapses during mouse postnatal development


Microglia participate in synapse remodeling in the cortex and hippocampus during mouse postnatal development. Although sex differences in microglia activity during embryonic development have been reported in these regions, it remains unexplored whether microglia show sexually dimorphic features during the early postnatal period, a critical window for synapse formation and maturation. Here, we investigated morphological and functional features of microglia across early postnatal development as well as morphological features of both pre- and postsynaptic neuronal compartments in the mouse hippocampus. We found a sex-dependent shift in microglia volume and phagocytic capacity across the first four postnatal weeks. Measurements of synaptic features revealed sex differences in the density of synaptic spines and boutons during the second postnatal week. These data are consistent with a precocious development of both microglia and synapses in the female brain. We further hypothesize that this bias may contribute to sex-specific brain wiring. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Microglia: Driving critical periods and sexual differentiation of the brain


The proverbial role of microglia during brain development is shifting from passive members of the brain's immune system to active participants that are able to dictate enduring outcomes. Despite these advances, little attention has been paid to one of the most critical components of early brain development—sexual differentiation. Mounting evidence suggests that the normal developmental functions microglia perform—cell number regulation and synaptic connectivity—may be involved in the sex-specific patterning of the brain during these early sensitive periods, and may have lasting sex-dependent and sex-independent effects on behavior. In this review, we outline the known functions of microglia during developmental sensitive periods, and highlight the role they play in the establishment of sex differences in brain and behavior. We also propose a framework for how researchers can incorporate microglia in their study of sex differences and vice versa. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

LINE-1 retrotransposons in healthy and diseased human brain


Long interspersed element-1 (LINE-1 or L1) is a transposable element with the ability to self-mobilize throughout the human genome. The L1 elements found in the human brain is hypothesized to date back 56 million years ago and has survived evolution, currently accounting for 17% of the human genome. L1 retrotransposition has been theorized to contribute to somatic mosaicism. This review focuses on the presence of L1 in the healthy and diseased human brain, such as in autism spectrum disorders. Throughout this exploration, we will discuss the impact L1 has on neurological disorders that can occur throughout the human lifetime. With this, we hope to better understand the complex role of L1 in the human brain development and its implications to human cognition. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Multimodal approaches to functional connectivity in autism spectrum disorders: An integrative perspective


Atypical functional connectivity has been implicated in autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). However, the literature to date has been largely inconsistent, with mixed and conflicting reports of hypo- and hyper-connectivity. These discrepancies are partly due to differences between various neuroimaging modalities. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetoencephalography (MEG) measure distinct indices of functional connectivity (e.g., blood-oxygenation level-dependent [BOLD] signal vs. electrical activity). Furthermore, each method has unique benefits and disadvantages with respect to spatial and temporal resolution, vulnerability to specific artifacts, and practical implementation. Thus far, functional connectivity research on ASDs has remained almost exclusively unimodal; therefore, interpreting findings across modalities remains a challenge. Multimodal integration of fMRI, EEG, and MEG data is critical in resolving discrepancies in the literature, and working toward a unifying framework for interpreting past and future findings. This review aims to provide a theoretical foundation for future multimodal research on ASDs. First, we will discuss the merits and shortcomings of several popular theories in ASD functional connectivity research, using examples from the literature to date. Next, the neurophysiological relationships between imaging modalities, including their relationship with invasive neural recordings, will be reviewed. Finally, methodological approaches to multimodal data integration will be presented, and their future application to ASDs will be discussed. Analyses relating transient patterns of neural activity (“states”) are particularly promising. This strategy provides a comparable measure across modalities, captures complex spatiotemporal patterns, and is a natural extension of recent dynamic fMRI research in ASDs. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

SHANK1 is differentially expressed during development in CA1 hippocampal neurons and astrocytes


Recent studies have strongly suggested a role for the synaptic scaffolding protein SHANK1 in normal synaptic structure and signaling. Global SHANK1 knockout (SHANK1−/−) mice demonstrate reduced dendritic spine density, an immature dendritic spine phenotype and impairments in various cognitive tasks. SHANK1 overexpression is associated with increased dendritic spine size and impairments in fear conditioning. These studies suggest proper regulation of SHANK1 is crucial for appropriate synaptic structure and cognition. However, little is known regarding SHANK1's developmental expression in brain regions critical for learning. The current study quantified cell specific developmental expression of SHANK1 in the hippocampus, a brain region critically involved in various learning paradigms shown to be disrupted by SHANK1 dysregulation. Consistent with prior studies, SHANK1 was found to be strongly co-expressed with dendritic markers, with significant increased co-expression at postnatal day (P) 15, an age associated with increased synaptogenesis in the hippocampus. Interestingly, SHANK1 was also found to be expressed in astrocytes and microglia. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of glial SHANK1 localization; therefore, these findings were further examined via a glial purified primary cell culture fraction using magnetic cell sorting. This additional analysis further demonstrated that SHANK1 was expressed in glial cells, supporting our immunofluorescence co-expression findings. Developmentally, astroglial SHANK1 co-expression was found to be significantly elevated at P5 with a reduction into adulthood, while SHANK1 microglial co-expression did not significantly change across development. These data collectively implicate a more global role for SHANK1 in mediating normal cellular signaling in the brain. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Microglial modulation of neuronal activity in the healthy brain


Investigations on the role of microglia in the brain have traditionally been focused on their contributions to disease states. However, recent observations have now convincingly shown that microglia in the healthy brain are not passive bystanders, but instead play a critical role in both central nervous system development and homeostasis of synaptic circuits in the adult. Here, we review the various mechanisms by which microglia impact neuronal communication in the healthy adult brain, both by sensing nearby synaptic responses and by actively modulating neuronal function. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

A novel approach to training attention and gaze in ASD: A feasibility and efficacy pilot study


In addition to the social, communicative and behavioral symptoms that define the disorder, individuals with ASD have difficulty re-orienting attention quickly and accurately. Similarly, fast re-orienting saccadic eye movements are also inaccurate and more variable in both endpoint and timing. Atypical gaze and attention are among the earliest symptoms observed in ASD. Disruption of these foundation skills critically affects the development of higher level cognitive and social behavior. We propose that interventions aimed at these early deficits that support social and cognitive skills will be broadly effective. We conducted a pilot clinical trial designed to demonstrate the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of using gaze-contingent video games for low-cost in-home training of attention and eye movement. Eight adolescents with ASD participated in an 8-week training, with pre-, mid- and post-testing of eye movement and attention control. Six of the eight adolescents completed the 8 weeks of training and all six showed improvement in attention (orienting, disengagement) and eye movement control or both. All game systems remained intact for the duration of training and all participants could use the system independently. We delivered a robust, low-cost, gaze-contingent game system for home use that, in our pilot training sample, improved the attention orienting and eye movement performance of adolescent participants in 8 weeks of training. We are currently conducting a clinical trial to replicate these results and to examine what, if any, aspects of training transfer to more real-world tasks. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Compartment-specific dynamics and functions of autophagy in neurons


Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway that is critical to maintaining neuronal homeostasis and viability. Autophagy sequesters damaged and aged cellular components from the intracellular environment, and shuttles these diverse macromolecules to lysosomes for destruction. This active surveillance of the quality of the cytoplasm and organelles is essential in neurons to sustain their long-term functionality and viability. Indeed, defective autophagy is linked to neurodevelopmental abnormalities and neurodegeneration in mammals. Here, we review the mechanisms of autophagy in neurons and functional roles for autophagy in neuronal homeostasis. We focus on the compartment-specific dynamics of autophagy in neurons, and how autophagy might perform non-canonical functions critical for neurons. We suggest the existence of multiple populations of autophagosomes with compartment-specific functions important for neural activity and function. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017.

Precise localizations of voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels in neurons


Neurons are extremely large and complex cells, and they regulate membrane potentials in multiple subcellular compartments using a variety of ion channels. Voltage-gated sodium (Nav) and potassium (Kv) channels are crucial in regulating neuronal membrane excitability owing to their diversity in subtypes, biophysical properties, and localizations. In particular, specific localizations of Nav and Kv channels in specific membrane compartments are essential to achieve a precise control of local membrane excitability. Recent advancement in super-resolution microscopy further substantiated nanoscale localizations of different ion channels in neuronal membranes. New questions arise from these new lines of evidence regarding how Nav and Kv channels are trafficked to a specific location and maintained against lateral diffusion. In this review, the aim is to summarize current information about ion channel localizations at nanoscopic levels and discuss what we can infer regarding the mechanisms. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Early postnatal development of electrophysiological and histological properties of sensory sural nerves in male rats that were maternally deprived and artificially reared: Role of tactile stimulation


Early adverse experiences disrupt brain development and behavior, but little is known about how such experiences impact on the development of the peripheral nervous system. Recently, we found alterations in the electrophysiological and histological characteristics of the sensory sural (SU) nerve in maternally deprived, artificially reared (AR) adult male rats, as compared with maternally reared (MR) control rats. In the present study, our aim was to characterize the ontogeny of these alterations. Thus, male pups of four postnatal days (PND) were (1) AR group, (2) AR and received daily tactile stimulation to the body and anogenital region (AR-Tactile group); or (3) reared by their mother (MR group). At PND 7, 14, or 21, electrophysiological properties and histological characteristics of the SU nerves were assessed. At PND 7, the electrophysiological properties and most histological parameters of the SU nerve did not differ among MR, AR, and AR-Tactile groups. By contrast, at PND 14 and/or 21, the SU nerve of AR rats showed a lower CAP amplitude and area, and a significant reduction in myelin area and myelin thickness, which were accompanied by a reduction in axon area (day 21 only) compared to the nerves of MR rats. Tactile stimulation (AR-Tactile group) partially prevented most of these alterations. These results suggest that sensory cues from the mother and/or littermates during the first 7–14 PND are relevant for the proper development and function of the adult SU nerve. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

The axonal endoplasmic reticulum: One organelle—many functions in development, maintenance, and plasticity


The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is highly conserved in eukaryotes and neurons. Indeed, the localization of the organelle in axons has been known for nearly half a century. However, the relevance of the axonal ER is only beginning to emerge. In this review, we discuss the structure of the ER in axons, examining the role of ER-shaping proteins and highlighting reticulons. We analyze the multiple functions of the ER and their potential contribution to axonal physiology. First, we examine the emerging roles of the axonal ER in lipid synthesis, protein translation, processing, quality control, and secretory trafficking of transmembrane proteins. We also review the impact of the ER on calcium dynamics, focusing on intracellular mechanisms and functions. We describe the interactions between the ER and endosomes, mitochondria, and synaptic vesicles. Finally, we analyze available proteomic data of axonal preparations to reveal the dynamic functionality of the ER in axons during development. We suggest that the dynamic proteome and a validated axonal interactome, together with state-of-the-art methodologies, may provide interesting research avenues in axon physiology that may extend to pathology and regeneration. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Regulation of plasma membrane expansion during axon formation


Here, will review current evidence regarding the signaling pathways and mechanisms underlying membrane addition at sites of active growth during axon formation. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

To the end of the line: Axonal mRNA transport and local translation in health and neurodegenerative disease


Axons and growth cones, by their very nature far removed from the cell body, encounter unique environments and require distinct populations of proteins. It seems only natural, then, that they have developed mechanisms to locally synthesize a host of proteins required to perform their specialized functions. Acceptance of this ability has taken decades; however, there is now consensus that axons do indeed have the capacity for local translation, and that this capacity is even retained into adulthood. Accumulating evidence supports the role of locally synthesized proteins in the proper development, maintenance, and function of neurons, and newly emerging studies also suggest that disruption in this process has implications in a number of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we briefly review the long history of axonal mRNA localization and local translation, and the role that these locally synthesized proteins play in normal neuronal function. Additionally, we highlight the emerging evidence that dysregulation in these processes contributes to a wide range of pathophysiology, including neuropsychiatric disorders, Alzheimer's, and motor neuron diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop. Neurobiol, 2017.

The physical approximation of APP and BACE-1: A key event in alzheimer's disease pathogenesis


Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by the accumulation of insoluble deposits of Amyloid β (Aβ) in brains. Aβ is derived by sequential cleavage of the amyloid precursor protein (APP) by β-site secretase enzyme (BACE-1) and γ-secretase. Proteolytic processing of APP by BACE-1 is the rate-limiting step in Aβ production, and this pathway is a prime target for AD drug development. Both APP and BACE-1 are membrane-spanning proteins, transported via secretory and endocytic pathways; and the physical interaction of APP and BACE-1 during trafficking is a key cell biological event initiating the amyloidogenic pathway. Here, we highlight recent research on intracellular trafficking/sorting of APP and BACE-1, and discuss how dysregulation of these pathways might lead to enhanced convergence of APP and BACE-1, and subsequent β-cleavage of APP. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Increased glia density in the caudate nucleus in williams syndrome: Implications for frontostriatal dysfunction in autism


Williams syndrome (WS) is a rare neurodevelopmental disorder with a well-described, known genetic etiology. In contrast to Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), WS has a unique phenotype characterized by global reductions in IQ and visuospatial ability, with relatively preserved language function, enhanced reactivity to social stimuli and music, and an unusual eagerness to interact socially with strangers. A duplication of the deleted region in WS has been implicated in a subset of ASD cases, defining a spectrum of genetic and behavioral variation at this locus defined by these opposite extremes in social behavior. The hypersociability characteristic of WS may be linked to abnormalities of frontostriatal circuitry that manifest as deficits in inhibitory control of behavior. Here, we examined the density of neurons and glia in associative and limbic territories of the striatum including the caudate, putamen, and nucleus accumbens regions in Nissl stained sections in five pairs of age, sex, and hemisphere-matched WS and typically-developing control (TD) subjects. In contrast to what is reported in ASD, no significant increase in overall neuron density was observed in this study. However, we found a significant increase in the density of glia in the dorsal caudate nucleus, and in the ratio of glia to neurons in the dorsal and medial caudate nucleus in WS, accompanied by a significant increase in density of oligodendrocytes in the medial caudate nucleus. These cellular abnormalities may underlie reduced frontostriatal activity observed in WS, with implications for understanding altered connectivity and function in ASD. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

The role of mitochondria in axon development and regeneration


Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that undergo transport, fission, and fusion. The three main functions of mitochondria are to generate ATP, buffer cytosolic calcium, and generate reactive oxygen species. A large body of evidence indicates that mitochondria are either primary targets for neurological disease states and nervous system injury, or are major contributors to the ensuing pathologies. However, the roles of mitochondria in the development and regeneration of axons have just begun to be elucidated. Advances in the understanding of the functional roles of mitochondria in neurons had been largely impeded by insufficient knowledge regarding the molecular mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial transport, stalling, fission/fusion, and a paucity of approaches to image and analyze mitochondria in living axons at the level of the single mitochondrion. However, technical advances in the imaging and analysis of mitochondria in living neurons and significant insights into the mechanisms that regulate mitochondrial dynamics have allowed the field to advance. Mitochondria have now been attributed important roles in the mechanism of axon extension, regeneration, and axon branching. The availability of new experimental tools is expected to rapidly increase our understanding of the functions of axonal mitochondria during both development and later regenerative attempts. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Development and maintenance of the brain's immune toolkit: Microglia and non-parenchymal brain macrophages


Microglia and non-parenchymal macrophages located in the perivascular space, the meninges and the choroid plexus are independent immune populations that play vital roles in brain development, homeostasis, and tissue healing. Resident macrophages account for a significant proportion of cells in the brain and their density remains stable throughout the lifespan thanks to constant turnover. Microglia develop from yolk sac progenitors, later evolving through intermediate progenitors in a fine-tuned process in which intrinsic factors and external stimuli combine to progressively sculpt their cell type-specific transcriptional profiles. Recent evidence demonstrates that non-parenchymal macrophages are also generated during early embryonic development. In recent years, the development of powerful fate mapping approaches combined with novel genomic and transcriptomic methodologies have greatly expanded our understanding of how brain macrophages develop and acquire specialized functions, and how cell population dynamics are regulated. Here, we review the transcription factors, epigenetic remodeling, and signaling pathways orchestrating the embryonic development of microglia and non-parenchymal macrophages. Next, we describe the dynamics of the macrophage populations of the brain and discuss the role of progenitor cells, to gain a better understanding of their functions in the healthy and diseased brain. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Neurodevelopmental disease mechanisms, primary cilia, and endosomes converge on the BLOC-1 and BORC complexes


The biogenesis of lysosome-related organelles complex-1 (BLOC-1) and the bloc-one-related complex (BORC) are the cytosolic protein complexes required for specialized membrane protein traffic along the endocytic route and the spatial distribution of endosome-derived compartments, respectively. BLOC-1 and BORC complex subunits and components of their interactomes have been associated with the risk and/or pathomechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders. Thus, cellular processes requiring BLOC-1 and BORC interactomes have the potential to offer novel insight into mechanisms underlying behavioral defects. We focus on interactions between BLOC-1 or BORC subunits with the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton, membrane tethers, and SNAREs. These interactions highlight requirements for BLOC-1 and BORC in membrane movement by motors, control of actin polymerization, and targeting of membrane proteins to specialized cellular domains such as the nerve terminal and the primary cilium. We propose that the endosome–primary cilia pathway is an underappreciated hub in the genesis and mechanisms of neurodevelopmental disorders. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

GABA type a receptor trafficking and the architecture of synaptic inhibition


Ubiquitous expression of GABA type A receptors (GABAAR) in the central nervous system establishes their central role in coordinating most aspects of neural function and development. Dysregulation of GABAergic neurotransmission manifests in a number of human health disorders and conditions that in certain cases can be alleviated by drugs targeting these receptors. Precise changes in the quantity or activity of GABAARs localized at the cell surface and at GABAergic postsynaptic sites directly impact the strength of inhibition. The molecular mechanisms constituting receptor trafficking to and from these compartments therefore dictate the efficacy of GABAAR function. Here we review the current understanding of how GABAARs traffic through biogenesis, plasma membrane transport, and degradation. Emphasis is placed on discussing novel GABAergic synaptic proteins, receptor and scaffolding post-translational modifications, activity-dependent changes in GABAAR confinement, and neuropeptide and neurosteroid mediated changes. We further highlight modern techniques currently advancing the knowledge of GABAAR trafficking and clinically relevant neurodevelopmental diseases connected to GABAergic dysfunction. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017.

The where, what, and when of membrane protein degradation in neurons


Membrane protein turnover and degradation are required for the function and health of all cells. Neurons may live for the entire lifetime of an organism and are highly polarized cells with spatially segregated axonal and dendritic compartments. Both longevity and morphological complexity represent challenges for regulated membrane protein degradation. To investigate how neurons cope with these challenges, an increasing number of recent studies investigated local, cargo-specific protein sorting, and degradation at axon terminals and in dendritic processes. In this review, we explore the current answers to the ensuing questions of where, what, and when membrane proteins are degraded in neurons. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol, 2017

Cover Image


Cover: The cover, by Bethany R. Kondiles and Philip J. Horner, is based on the Review Article Myelin plasticity, neural activity, and traumatic neural injury, DOI: 10.1002/dneu.22540.

Issue Information


Intrinsic and adaptive myelination—A sequential mechanism for smart wiring in the brain


The concept of adaptive myelination—myelin plasticity regulated by activity—is an important advance for the field. What signals set up the adaptable pattern in the first place? Here we review work that demonstrates an intrinsic pathway within oligodendrocytes requiring only an axon-shaped substrate to generate multilayered and compacted myelin sheaths of a physiological length. Based on this, we discuss a model we proposed in 2015 which argues that myelination has two phases—intrinsic and then adaptive—which together generate “smart wiring,” in which active axons become more myelinated. This model explains why prior studies have failed to identify a signal necessary for central nervous system myelination and argues that myelination, like synapses, might contribute to learning by the activity-dependent modification of an initially hard-wired pattern. © 2017 The Authors. Developmental Neurobiology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 78: 68–79, 2018

Myelin development, plasticity, and pathology in the auditory system


Myelin allows for the rapid and precise timing of action potential propagation along neuronal circuits and is essential for healthy auditory system function. In this article, we discuss what is currently known about myelin in the auditory system with a focus on the timing of myelination during auditory system development, the role of myelin in supporting peripheral and central auditory circuit function, and how various myelin pathologies compromise auditory information processing. Additionally, in keeping with the increasing recognition that myelin is dynamic and is influenced by experience throughout life, we review the growing evidence that auditory sensory deprivation alters myelin along specific segments of the brain's auditory circuit. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 78: 80–92, 2018

Neuroglial interactions underpinning myelin plasticity


The CNS is extremely responsive to an ever-changing environment. Studies of neural circuit plasticity focus almost exclusively on functional and structural changes of neuronal synapses. In recent years, however, myelin plasticity has emerged as a potential modulator of neuronal networks. Myelination of previously unmyelinated axons and changes in the structure of myelin on already-myelinated axons (similar to changes in internode number and length or myelin thickness or geometry of the nodal area) can in theory have significant effects on the function of neuronal networks. In this article, the authors review the current evidence for myelin changes occurring in the adult CNS, highlight some potential underlying mechanisms of how neuronal activity may regulate myelin changes, and explore the similarities between neuronal and myelin plasticity. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 78: 93–107, 2018

Myelin plasticity, neural activity, and traumatic neural injury


The possibility that adult organisms exhibit myelin plasticity has recently become a topic of great interest. Many researchers are exploring the role of myelin growth and adaptation in daily functions such as memory and motor learning. Here we consider evidence for three different potential categories of myelin plasticity: the myelination of previously bare axons, remodeling of existing sheaths, and the removal of a sheath with replacement by a new internode. We also review evidence that points to the importance of neural activity as a mechanism by which oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) are cued to differentiate into myelinating oligodendrocytes, which may potentially be an important component of myelin plasticity. Finally, we discuss demyelination in the context of traumatic neural injury and present an argument for altering neural activity as a potential therapeutic target for remyelination following injury. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 78: 108–122, 2018.

Bad wrap: Myelin and myelin plasticity in health and disease


Human central nervous system myelin development extends well into the fourth decade of life, and this protracted period underscores the potential for experience to modulate myelination. The concept of myelin plasticity implies adaptability in myelin structure and function in response to experiences during development and beyond. Mounting evidence supports this concept of neuronal activity-regulated changes in myelin-forming cells, including oligodendrocyte precursor cell proliferation, oligodendrogenesis and modulation of myelin microstructure. In healthy individuals, myelin plasticity in associative white matter structures of the brain is implicated in learning and motor function in both rodents and humans. Activity-dependent changes in myelin-forming cells may influence the function of neural networks that depend on the convergence of numerous neural signals on both a temporal and spatial scale. However, dysregulation of myelin plasticity can disadvantageously alter myelin microstructure and result in aberrant circuit function or contribute to pathological cell proliferation. Emerging roles for myelin plasticity in normal neurological function and in disease are discussed. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 78: 123–135, 2018

Advances in noninvasive myelin imaging


Myelin is important for the normal development and healthy function of the nervous system. Recent developments in MRI acquisition and tissue modeling aim to provide a better characterization and more specific markers for myelin. This allows for specific monitoring of myelination longitudinally and noninvasively in the healthy brain as well as assessment of treatment and intervention efficacy. Here, we offer a nontechnical review of MRI techniques developed to specifically monitor myelin such as magnetization transfer (MT) and myelin water imaging (MWI). We further summarize recent studies that employ these methods to measure myelin in relation to development and aging, learning and experience, and neuropathology and psychiatric disorders. © 2017 The Authors. Developmental Neurobiology Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 78: 136–151, 2018

Widespread transcriptional alternations in oligodendrocytes in the adult mouse brain following chronic stress


Emerging evidence shows that oligodendrogenesis and myelination are highly responsive to behavioral experience, including physical activity and social experience. This form of myelin plasticity is being increasingly appreciated and examined in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), a critical brain region involved in complex emotional and cognitive behavior. However, it remains unclear whether myelination in other brain regions is affected by behavioral experience. Here we report that exposure to 4 weeks of chronic variable stress induced anxiety- and depressive-like behavior in male adult mice. In concert with these behavioral responses, transcriptional analysis of PFC, and nucleus accumbens (NAc)—a brain region critical for reward response—revealed downregulation of transcripts encoding for myelin genes and oligodendrocyte-specific genes. In contrast, upregulation of myelin-related transcripts was observed in the corpus callosum (CC), whereas the amygdala (AMG) did not show significant changes. Shorter exposure to the same stressors induced behavioral changes to a less extent and was followed by a stress habituation period. However, reduced myelin and oligodendrocyte-specific gene transcripts were detected as early as one week following stress exposure in the PFC and NAc. These data indicate that oligodendrocyte and their progenitors in multiple brain regions are responsive to stressful experiences and show distinctive and region-specific patterns of gene expression. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 78: 152–162, 2018