Molecular Neurobiology

, Volume 44, Issue 3, pp 303–312 | Cite as

How Histone Deacetylases Control Myelination



Myelinated axons are a beautiful example of symbiotic interactions between two cell types: Myelinating glial cells organize axonal membranes and build their myelin sheaths to allow fast action potential conduction, while axons regulate myelination and enhance the survival of myelinating cells. Axonal demyelination, occurring in neurodegenerative diseases or after a nerve injury, results in severe motor and/or mental disabilities. Thus, understanding how the myelination process is induced, regulated, and maintained is crucial to develop new therapeutic strategies for regeneration in the nervous system. Epigenetic regulation has recently been recognized as a fundamental contributing player. In this review, we focus on the central mechanisms of gene regulation mediated by histone deacetylation and other key functions of histone deacetylases in Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes, the myelinating glia of the peripheral and central nervous systems.


Histone deacetylases Schwann cells Oligodendrocytes Development Differentiation Myelination 



We thank the members of the Suter lab for many fruitful discussions and Dr. Ned Mantei for critical review of the manuscript. Research in the lab of the authors is supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR), Neural Plasticity and Repair.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiologyInstitute of Cell Biology, ETH Zurich, ETH-Hönggerberg, HPM E39ZürichSwitzerland

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