eCite Digital Repository

Remodelling of myelinated axons and oligodendrocyte differentiation is stimulated by environmental enrichment in the young adult brain


Nicholson, M and Wood, RJ and Gonsalvez, DG and Hannan, AJ and Fletcher, JL and Xiao, J and Murray, SS, Remodelling of myelinated axons and oligodendrocyte differentiation is stimulated by environmental enrichment in the young adult brain, European Journal of Neuroscience, 56, (12) pp. 6099-6114. ISSN 0953-816X (2022) [Refereed Article]

PDF (Published version)

Copyright Statement

2022 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience published by Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This article is an open access article under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License, ( which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

DOI: doi:10.1111/ejn.15840


Oligodendrocyte production and myelination continues lifelong in the central nervous system (CNS), and all stages of this process can be adaptively regulated by neuronal activity. While artificial exogenous stimulation of neuronal circuits greatly enhances oligodendrocyte progenitor cell (OPC) production and increases myelination during development, the extent to which physiological stimuli replicates this is unclear, particularly in the adult CNS when the rate of new myelin addition slows. Here, we used environmental enrichment (EE) to physiologically stimulate neuronal activity for 6 weeks in 9-week-old C57BL/six male and female mice and found no increase in compact myelin in the corpus callosum or somatosensory cortex. Instead, we observed a global increase in callosal axon diameter with thicker myelin sheaths, elongated paranodes and shortened nodes of Ranvier. These findings indicate that EE induced the dynamic structural remodelling of myelinated axons. Additionally, we observed a global increase in the differentiation of OPCs and pre-myelinating oligodendroglia in the corpus callosum and somatosensory cortex. Our findings of structural remodelling of myelinated axons in response to physiological neural stimuli during young adulthood provide important insights in understanding experience-dependent myelin plasticity throughout the lifespan and provide a platform to investigate axon-myelin interactions in a physiologically relevant context.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:myelination, environmental enrichment, oligodendrocyte
Research Division:Biomedical and Clinical Sciences
Research Group:Neurosciences
Research Field:Central nervous system
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the biomedical and clinical sciences
UTAS Author:Fletcher, JL (Dr Jessica Fletcher)
ID Code:155417
Year Published:2022
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2023-02-20
Last Modified:2023-03-16
Downloads:2 View Download Statistics

Repository Staff Only: item control page