Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2024

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Hebe Guardiola-Diaz


Oligodendrocytes are glial cells responsible for the creation of myelin, a fatty substance that maximizes axon potential efficiency by creating a sheath around axons. The process of creating myelin is called myelination and is exclusively performed by oligodendrocytes. Myelination requires a lot of energy output to cover the needs of creating myelin. Oligodendrocytes have numerous mitochondria that help them meet that energy requirement fulfill their function. Oligodendrocyte progenitors are cells that differentiate to become myelinating oligodendrocytes. Not a lot is known about progenitors’ mitochondria and their mitochondrial metabolism. Differentiation is necessary to replenish oligodendrocytes that degrade. If the levels of differentiation are low, there are insufficient myelinating cells to ensure efficient axonal function, ultimately raising the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like multiple sclerosis to occur. This thesis study aims to investigate the difference in mitochondrial structure and function between rat neonatal telencephalon oligodendrocytes and oligodendrocyte progenitors in culture. Function is addressed in terms of energy systems used by each cell through lactate determination assays as well as the importance of mitochondrial division by inhibiting it via the mitochondrial division inhibitor Mdivi-1. Mitochondrial structure is investigated with the use of Transmission Electron Microscopy which allows for length measurements of the organelle. While mitochondrial division inhibition seemed to not be detrimental to oligodendrocyte progenitor differentiation, lactate production hinted towards a trend of change when the inhibitor was introduced. Contrary to previous hypotheses, mitochondrial length and shape is similar between oligodendrocytes and their progenitors. As this is a preliminary investigation sample sizes need to be improved to make more conclusive statements about the metabolism and mitochondria of oligodendrocyte lineage cells.