Oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPCs) are a population of tissue-resident glial cells found throughout the CNS, constituting approximately 5% of all CNS cells and persisting from development to adulthood and aging. The canonical role of OPCs is to give rise to myelinating oligodendrocytes. However, additional functions of OPCs beyond this traditional role as precursors have been suggested for a long time. In this Perspective, we provide an overview of the multiple myelination-independent functions that have been described for OPCs in the context of neuron development, angiogenesis, inflammatory response, axon regeneration and their recently discovered roles in neural circuit remodeling.
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The authors thank R. Almeida and all members of the Czopka group for helpful comments and suggestions on this manuscript. This work was supported by the following grants to T.C.: ERC Starting Grant (714440), CRC870/TP A14 (118803580) from the German Research Foundation (DFG), Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship (224497/Z/21/Z) and Responsive Mode grant (BB/V017012/1) from the Biotechnology and Biological Research Council (BBSRC).
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Xiao, Y., Czopka, T. Myelination-independent functions of oligodendrocyte precursor cells in health and disease. Nat Neurosci 26, 1663–1669 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41593-023-01423-3