Live-imaging in the CNS: new insights on oligodendrocytes, myelination, and their responses to inflammation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


The formation and repair of myelin involves alterations in the molecular and physical properties of oligodendrocytes, and highly coordinated interactions with their target axons. Characterising the nature and timing of these events at the molecular and cellular levels illuminates the fundamental events underlying myelin formation, and provides opportunities for the development of therapies to replace myelin lost through traumatic injury and inflammation. The dynamic nature of these events requires that live-imaging methods be used to capture this information accurately and completely. Developments in imaging technologies, and model systems suitable for their application to myelination, have advanced the study of myelin formation, injury and repair. Similarly, new techniques for single molecule imaging, and novel imaging probes, are providing opportunities to resolve the dynamics of myelin proteins during myelination. Here, we explore these developments in the context of myelin formation and injury, identify unmet needs within the field where progress can be advanced through live-imaging approaches, identify technical challenges that are limiting this progress, and highlight practical applications for these approaches that could lead to therapies for the protection of oligodendrocytes and myelin from injury, and restore myelin lost through injury and disease.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages35
Early online date25 Sep 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sep 2015


  • Live-imaging, Single molecule imaging, oligodendrocytes, myelination, demyelination, inflammation