Oligodendrocytes wrap neuronal axons to form myelin, an insulating sheath which is essential for nervous impulse conduction along axons. Axonal myelination is highly regulated by neuronal and astrocytic signals and the maintenance of myelin sheaths is a very complex process. Oligodendrocyte damage can cause axonal demyelination and neuronal injury, leading to neurological disorders. Demyelination in the cerebrum may produce cognitive impairment in a variety of neurological disorders, including human immunodeficiency virus type one (HIV-1)-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Although the combined antiretroviral therapy has markedly reduced the incidence of HIV-1-associated dementia, a severe form of HAND, milder forms of HAND remain prevalent even when the peripheral viral load is well controlled. HAND manifests as a subcortical dementia with damage in the brain white matter (e.g., corpus callosum), which consists of myelinated axonal fibers. How HIV-1 brain infection causes myelin injury and resultant white matter damage is an interesting area of current HIV research. In this review, we tentatively address recent progress on oligodendrocyte dysregulation and HAND pathogenesis.
- Myelin sheath
ASJC Scopus subject areas