Neural Regeneration Research (2021-01-01)

Therapeutic potential of neuromodulation for demyelinating diseases

  • Elliot H Choi,
  • Chioma Nwakalor,
  • Nolan J Brown,
  • Joonho Lee,
  • Michael Y Oh,
  • In Hong Yang

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 16, no. 2
pp. 214 – 217


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Neuromodulation represents a cutting edge class of both invasive and non-invasive therapeutic methods which alter the activity of neurons. Currently, several different techniques have been developed - or are currently being investigated – to treat a wide variety of neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders. Recently, in vivo and in vitro studies have revealed that neuromodulation can also induce myelination, meaning that it could hold potential as a therapy for various demyelinating diseases including multiple sclerosis and progressive multifocal leukencepalopathy. These findings come on the heels of a paradigm shift in the view of myelin's role within the nervous system from a static structure to an active co-regulator of central nervous system plasticity and participant in neuron-mediated modulation. In the present review, we highlight several of the recent findings regarding the role of neural activity in altering myelination including several soluble and contact-dependent factors that seem to mediate neural activity-dependent myelination. We also highlight several considerations for neuromodulatory techniques, including the need for further research into spatiotemporal precision, dosage, and the safety and efficacy of transcranial focused ultrasound stimulation, an emerging neuromodulation technology. As the field of neuromodulation continues to evolve, it could potentially bring forth methods for the treatment of demyelinating diseases, and as such, further investigation into the mechanisms of neuron-dependent myelination as well as neuro-imaging modalities that can monitor myelination activity is warranted.