Demyelinative diseases are frequently accompanied by loss of oligodendroglia; in such instances, oligodendroglial regeneration must precede remyelination. Recent studies indicate that extracellular proteins such as platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) and basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) profoundly influence the oligodendroglial lineage. PDGF stimulates the formation of oligodendroglia from partially differentiated progenitor cells, whereas bFGF induces mature oligodendroglia to proliferate and dedifferentiate. Manipulations of the central nervous system concentrations of these and other protein growth factors may prove of therapeutic value in multiple sclerosis.
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