Oligodendrocyte-Associated Enzymes

  • Wendy Cammer
Part of the Advances in Neurochemistry book series (ANCH, volume 5)


There is strong experimental evidence that the synthesis and maintenance of myelin are the primary functions of oligodendroglia in both white matter and gray matter (Kuffler and Nicholls, 1966; Bunge, 1968; Ludwin, 1978) (also see Chapter 1). The once-popular concept that glial cells also furnish direct biochemical support to neurons (e.g., Hyden and Pigon, 1960) has remained mostly speculation. With this perspective, therefore, the enzymes that deserve consideration are those that have particular significance for the known functions of oligodendroglia and those that have relatively high activities but that do not seem to be directly related to myelination. These enzymes can be placed in four categories and are so discussed in this chapter. The first category comprises enzymes of glucose metabolism that are elevated in oligodendroglia during the phase of development when myelination is most rapid (Section 2). The activity of at least one of these enzymes remains high into adult life. The second category consists of the enzymes known to be enriched in myelin (reviewed by Norton 1980; Norton and Cammer, 1984), which might be expected to have high activities in oligodendroglia (Section 3). The third category includes the enzymes involved in the synthesis and degradation of myelin lipids (Section 4). The discussion of these enzymes is brief, in view of the extensive coverage of lipid metabolism in Chapters 2 and 5. The fourth category includes several enzymes, not conveniently classifiable, that have particularly high activities, although not necessarily exclusive localization, in oligodendrocytes (Section 5).


White Matter Carbonic Anhydrase Myelin Basic Protein Pentose Phosphate Pathway Myelin Sheath 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wendy Cammer
    • 1
  1. 1.The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology, and the Department of NeuroscienceAlbert Einstein College of MedicineBronxUSA

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