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Vanja Tepavčević

Senior Researcher

Principal Investigator

Vanja Tepavčević



Tel.:(+34) 94 601 8284

Science Park of the UPV/EHU
Sede Building, 3rd floor, Barrio Sarriena, s/n
E-48940 Leioa Spain

About me

Myelination represents a key evolutionary event associated with the development of large and complex nervous system in hinged-jaw vertebrates.

In the central nervous system (CNS), myelin is formed by oligodendrocytes that derive from oligodedrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs). CNS myelin in good health is crucial for appropriate axonal function given that it:

  1. enables saltatory conduction of action potentials
  2. provides axons with trophic support, including energy substrates such as lactate
  3. is crucial for appropriate axonal transport.

Several CNS diseases are characterized by myelin alterations/loss (demyelination). These include leukodystrophies, periventricular leukomalacia, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury. Leukodystrophies are congenital myelin disorders characterised by genetic abnormalities resulting in failure of proper myelin sheath formation (hypomyelination) and/or maintenance (dysmyelination). Periventricular leukomalacia is the commonest form of ischaemic injury in premature infants leading to damage of oligodendroglial cells. Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory CNS disorder characterized by disseminated demyelination and axonal loss. Demyelination is also a feature of spinal cord injury, as even after the most severe insults, certain axons survive, but become demyelinated and exhibit consequent alterations of the conduction.

Restoring myelin in these pathologies may prevent axonal loss and permanent neurological handicap. While regenerative approaches will depend on the type of pathology, understanding the mechanisms of myelin generation/regeneration will be crucial in designing such therapies.

Mechanisms underlying the generation of mature oligodendrocytes by OPCs and subsequent myelin formation during the development and following myelin lesions have been a subject of many studies. However, bioenergetic needs of OPCs remain scarcely characterized. The aim of my research is to understand bioenergetic requirements of OPCs during myelin generation.


  1. Combining imaging mass spectrometry and immunohistochemistry to analyse the lipidome of spinal cord inflammation

    Calvo, Ibai; Montilla, Alejandro; Huergo, Cristina; Martín-Saiz, Lucía; Martín-Allende, Javier; Tepavcevic, Vanja; Domercq, María; Fernández, José A.
    Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry (Feb, 2024) DOI: 10.1007/s00216-024-05190-3
  2. Oligodendrocyte progenitor cell recruitment and remyelination in multiple sclerosis: the more, the merrier?

    Tepavčević, Vanja; Lubetzki, Catherine
    Brain (Dec, 2022) DOI: 10.1093/brain/awac307
  3. GABAB receptor agonist baclofen promotes central nervous system remyelination

    Serrano-Regal, Mari Paz; Bayón-Cordero, Laura; Chara Ventura, Juan Carlos; Ochoa-Bueno, Blanca I.; Tepavcevic, Vanja; Matute, Carlos; Sánchez-Gómez, María Victoria
    Glia (Dec, 2022) DOI: 10.1002/glia.24262
  4. Genetically modified macrophages accelerate myelin repair

    Aigrot, Marie-Stéphane; Barthelemy, Clara; Moyon, Sarah; Dufayet-Chaffaud, Gaelle; Izagirre-Urizar, Leire; Gillet-Legrand, Beatrix; Tada, Satoru; Bayón-Cordero, Laura; Chara, Juan-Carlos; Matute, Carlos; Cartier, Nathalie; Lubetzki, Catherine; Tepavčević, Vanja
    EMBO Molecular Medicine (Jul, 2022) DOI: 10.15252/emmm.202114759
  5. Endocannabinoid signaling in brain diseases: Emerging relevance of glial cells

    Bernal-Chico, Ana; Tepavcevic, Vanja; Manterola, Andrea; Utrilla, Carmen; Matute, Carlos; Mato, Susana
    Glia (Mar, 2022) DOI: 10.1002/glia.24172