About this Research Topic
Although historically interest has focused on the grey matter, in the last decade, significant progress in understanding white matter structure and function has been made: white matter tracts have been reconstructed in great details, and the previously unknown contribution of white matter pathology to aging, epilepsy, autism, mental and neurodegenerative disorders has been discovered. Although diffusion MRI still remains a major tool to study white matter in humans, in the recent years, the use of the modern electrophysiological, imaging, optogenetic, and chemogenetic approaches fostered new studies of white matter in experimental animals at single-cell resolution. New information regarding the physiological properties and function of cells composing the white matter, and the functional interaction between different cell types, is now emerging.
We are launching this research topic to highlight the recent achievements in the field, but also to emphasize the urgent need for further studies of the white matter at single-cell resolution in animal models and human patients, in parallel with functional MRI studies. This research is of primary importance for understanding the mechanisms of diseases involving the white matter, and for development of new pharmacological, genetic, and non-conventional strategies for white matter repair.
We welcome submissions of original research articles, reviews, and commentaries regarding research of white matter at the single-cell level, particularly addressing the following questions:
(1) What do recent discoveries tell us about functional role of ion channels, transporters, and receptors expressed in white matter axons and glia?
(2) How do glial cells communicate with each other and neurons, and how does this affect their function in the white matter?
(3) What role does the vasculature play in the pathogenesis of white matter damage in neurodegenerative diseases?
(4) What omic data is teaching us about the white matter?
(5) What are the best experimental and computations models to foster new discoveries about white matter function at single-cell resolution?
(6) What is the link between white matter and grey matter pathologies?
(7) Can new bioengineering approaches help restore white matter function after damage?
(8) Understanding white matter pathologies: how can clinicians and scientists help each other move forward?
(9) How are the neurodevelopmental abnormalities of white matter associated with disorders like autism, dyslexia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder?
Keywords: White matter, Astrocytes, Oligodendrocytes, Microglia, Axons
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.