In the past, glial cells were considered to be ‘glue’ cells whose primary role was thought to be merely filling gaps in neural circuits. However, a growing number of reports have indicated the role of glial cells in higher brain function through their interaction with neurons. Myelin was originally thought to be just a sheath structure surrounding neuronal axons, but recently it has been shown that myelin exerts effects on the conduction velocity of neuronal axons even after myelin formation. Therefore, the investigation of glial cell properties and the neuron-glial interactions is important for understanding higher brain function. Moreover, since there are many neurological disorders caused by glial abnormalities, further understanding of glial cell-related diseases and the development of effective therapeutic strategies are warranted. In this review, we focused on oligodendrocyte-neuron interactions, with particular attention on (1) axonal signals underlying oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelination, (2) neuronal activity-dependent myelination and (3) the effects of myelination on higher brain function.
- Motor skill learning
- Neuronal electrical activity