The Na+/Ca2+ exchangers in demyelinating diseases

Francesca Boscia, Valeria de Rosa, Mariarosaria Cammarota, Agnese Secondo, Anna Pannaccione, Lucio Annunziato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intracellular [Na+]i and [Ca2+]i imbalance significantly contribute to neuro-axonal dysfunctions and maladaptive myelin repair or remyelination failure in chronic inflammatory demyelinating diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Progress in recent years has led to significant advances in understanding how [Ca2+]i signaling network drive degeneration or remyelination of demyelinated axons. The Na+/Ca2+ exchangers (NCXs), a transmembrane protein family including three members encoded by ncx1, ncx2, and ncx3 genes, are emerging important regulators of [Na+]i and [Ca2+]i both in neurons and glial cells. Here we review recent advance highlighting the role of NCX exchangers in axons and myelin-forming cells, i.e. oligodendrocytes, which represent the major targets of the aberrant inflammatory attack in multiple sclerosis. The contribution of NCX subtypes to axonal pathology and myelin synthesis will be discussed. Although a definitive understanding of mechanisms regulating axonal pathology and remyelination failure in chronic demyelinating diseases is still lacking and requires further investigation, current knowledge suggest that NCX activity plays a crucial role in these processes. Defining the relative contributions of each NCX transporter in axon pathology and myelinating glia will constitute not only a major advance in understanding in detail the intricate mechanism of neurodegeneration and remyelination failure in demyelinating diseases but also will help to identify neuroprotective or remyelinating strategies targeting selective NCX exchangers as a means of treating MS.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalCell Calcium
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2020


  • Axon
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Myelin
  • Na(+)/Ca(2+)exchanger
  • NCX
  • Oligodendrocyte

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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