You are here

Experience-Dependent Myelination: Neuropeptides as Axonal Signals for Oligodendrocyte Differentiation and Myelination

Weekly Seminar | Not Open to the Public
Who Should Attend: 


Dr. Jonah Chan's Photo
Rachleff Professor of Neurology
Vice-Chief for the Division of Neuroimmunology and Glial Biology
Co-Director of the Innovation Program for Remyelination and Repair


Emerging evidence implicates experience-dependent myelination in learning and memory. However, the specific signals underlying this process remain unresolved. We demonstrate that the neuropeptide dynorphin, which is released from neurons upon high levels of activity, promotes experience-dependent myelination. Following forced swim stress, an experience that induces striatal dynorphin release, we observe increased striatal oligodendrocyte precursor cell (OPC) differentiation and myelination, which is abolished by deleting dynorphin or blocking its endogenous receptor, kappa opioid receptor (KOR). We find dynorphin also promotes developmental OPC differentiation and myelination and demonstrate that this effect requires KOR expression specifically on OPCs. We characterize dynorphin-expressing neurons and use genetic sparse-labeling to trace their axonal projections. Surprisingly, we find they are unmyelinated normally and following forced swim stress. We propose a new model whereby experience-dependent and developmental myelination is mediated by unmyelinated, neuropeptide-expressing neurons that promote OPC differentiation for the myelination of neighboring axons.

Dr. Jonah Chan's Figure


Simon Pan, Sonia R Mayoral, Hye Sun Choi, Jonah R Chan, Mazen A Kheirbek
Preservation of a remote fear memory requires new myelin formation
Nat Neurosci. 2020 Apr;23(4):487-499. doi: 10.1038/s41593-019-0582-1. Epub 2020 Feb 10.
Fei Wang, Shu-Yu Ren, Jing-Fei Chen, Kun Liu, Rui-Xue Li, Zhi-Fang Li, Bo Hu, Jian-Qin Niu, Lan Xiao, Jonah R Chan, Feng Mei
Myelin degeneration and diminished myelin renewal contribute to age-related deficits in memory
Nat Neurosci. 2020 Apr;23(4):481-486. doi: 10.1038/s41593-020-0588-8. Epub 2020 Feb 10.
Sonia R Mayoral, Ainhoa Etxeberria, Yun-An A Shen, Jonah R Chan
Initiation of CNS Myelination in the Optic Nerve Is Dependent on Axon Caliber
Cell Rep. 2018 Oct 16;25(3):544-550.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.09.052.


Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 12:30pm


Conference Room: 
Online Webinar

More Information

Darlene White

Conditions & Recovery

Neurodegenerative Diseases icon
Worldwide, 50 million people are living with Alzheimer's and other dementias.