Diversity and Function of Glial Cell Types in Multiple Sclerosis

Lucas Schirmer, Dorothy P. Schafer, Theresa Bartels, David H. Rowitch, Peter A. Calabresi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Glial subtype diversity is an emerging topic in neurobiology and immune-mediated neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS). We discuss recent conceptual and technological advances that allow a better understanding of the transcriptomic and functional heterogeneity of oligodendrocytes (OLs), astrocytes, and microglial cells under inflammatory–demyelinating conditions. Recent single cell transcriptomic studies suggest the occurrence of novel homeostatic and reactive glial subtypes and provide insight into the molecular events during disease progression. Multiplexed RNA in situ hybridization has enabled ‘mapping back’ dysregulated gene expression to glial subtypes within the MS lesion microenvironment. These findings suggest novel homeostatic and reactive glial-cell-type functions both in immune-related processes and neuroprotection relevant to understanding the pathology of MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)228-247
Number of pages20
JournalTrends in Immunology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • astrocytes
  • microglia
  • multiple sclerosis
  • neuroinflammation
  • oligodendrocytes
  • transcriptomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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