OPC NG2During my post-docs, I spent a lot of time working on oligodendrocytes (remember my first post, they are the cells insulating the axons with a layer called myelin) and their precursors, the OPCs, a kind of brain stem cell. Not only OPCs are very pretty cells (OPCs stained with a surface marker in red) but they are truly amazing and can repair some brain damage especially in multiple sclerosis (MS). I’m so passionate about OPCs and oligodendrocytes that last year I wrote a poem about them and my research in the context of MS and the repair they can undertake called remyelination. The poem won the first runner-up prize in EuroStemCell poetry competition. It’s called “In the mind of an axon: another way to talk about Multiple Sclerosis and spontaneous repair“. Hope you’ll enjoy!

I was happy with my Olis

all caring for me, enwrapping me,

they helped me spark with no limits

like a firework I was,

 

But destruction came, like a war around me,

immune attacks and my Olis are in debris,

myelin scattered, no more wraps,

I’m on my own, naked and vulnerable.

 

I screamed for help,

sent messages

in my slow motion

I miss you, I need you my Oligodendrocytes,

 

and they came, the littles ones,

neural stem cells, future Olis,

I talked to them, sung for them and charmed them.

It’s all about communication.

 

We made contact, touched and felt each other,

tuned our rhythms

and they wrap, wrap, wrap themselves around me,

restoring me, my new Olis.

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