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Ethan Hughes

Assistant Professor​

Cell and Developmental Biology
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2009     

Research Interest​

Oligodendrocytes and their Precursors in the Adult Central Nervous System


Office Location: RC-1 North, Room 7100
Lab Location:  RC-1 North, Room 7400C

Mailing Address:

Mail Stop 8108​
12800 E 19th Avenue     
Aurora, CO 80045

Phone:  303-724-3122    
Fax:  303-724-3420    

Departmental Affiliations

Cell and Developmental Biology​​​​

​​Publications as of September 2016

​​Hughes EG, Appel B. (2016) The cell biology of CNS myelination. Current Opinions Neurobiology 39:93-100.

Peng X, Hughes EG, Moscato EH, Parsons TD, Dalmau J, Balice-Gordon RJ. (2015) Cellular plasticity induced by anti-AMPA receptor
encephalitis antibodies. Annals of Neurology 77: 381-98.​

Hughes EG*, Kang SH*, Fukaya M*, Bergles DE. (2013) Oligodendrocyte progenitors balance growth and self-repulsion to maintain homeostasis in the adult brain. Nature Neuroscience 16: 668–676.

Hughes EG*, Peng X*, Gleichman AJ, Lai M, Zhou L, Lynch DR, Dalmau J, Balice-Gordon RJ. (2010) Cellular and synaptic mechanisms of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.  Journal of Neuroscience 30:  5866-5875.

Hughes EG, Elmariah SB, Balice-Gordon RJ.  (2010) Astrocyte secreted proteins selectively increase hippocampal GABAergic axon length, branching, and synaptogenesis. Molecular Cellular Neuroscience 43: 136-45.

Lancaster E*, Lai M*, Peng X, Hughes EG, Constantinescu R, Raizer J, Friedman D, Skeen M, Grisold W, Kimura A, Ohta K, Iizuka T, Graus F, Moss SJ, Balice-Gordon RJ, Dalmau J. (2010) The GABA (B) Receptor is a Novel Autoantigen of Limbic Encephalitis with Prominent Seizures. Lancet Neurology 9:  67-76. 

Lai M*, Hughes EG*, Peng X*, Zhou L, Gleichman AJ, Shu H, Mata S, Kremens D, Vitaliani R, Geschwind MD, Bataller L, Kalb RG, Davis R, Graus F, Lynch DR, Balice-Gordon RJ, Dalmau J. (2009) AMPA receptor antibodies in limbic encephalitis alter synaptic receptor location. Annals of Neurology 65: 424-34.

Keene SD*, Greco TM*, Parastatidis I, Lee SH, Hughes EG, Balice-Gordon RJ, Speicher DW and Ischiropoulos H. (2009) Mass spectrometric and computational analysis of cytokine-induced alterations in the astrocyte secretome. Proteomics 3: 768-82.

Dalmau J, Gleichman AJ*, Hughes EG*, Rossi JE, Peng X, Lai M, Deassain S, Rosenfeld MR, Balice-Gordon RJ, Lynch DR.  (2008) Anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis: case series and analysis of the effects of antibodies. Lancet Neurology. 12:1091-8.

Kayser MS, McCelland AC, Hughes EG, Dalva MB. (2006) Intra-cellular and trans-synaptic regulation of glutamatergic synaptogenesis by EphB receptors.  Journal of Neuroscience 26:  12152-64. 

Elmariah SB, Oh EJ, Hughes EG, Balice-Gordon RJ. (2005) Astrocytes regulate inhibitory synapse formation via Trk-mediated modification of postsynaptic GABAA receptors.  Journal of Neuroscience 25: 3638-50.

Hughes EG, Maguire JL, McMinn MT, Scholz RE, Sutherland ML. (2004) Loss of glial fibrillary acidic protein results in decreased glutamate transport and inhibition of PKA-induced EAAT2 cell surface trafficking.  Brain Res. Mol. Brain Res. 124: 114-23.

Kim J, Hughes EG, Shetty AS, Arlotta P, Goff LA, Bergles DE, and Brown SP (2017) Changes in the excitability of neocortical neurons in a mouse model of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are not specific to corticospinal neurons and are modulated by advancing disease. Journal of Neuroscience, in press.

Agarwal A, Wu P-H, Hughes EG, Fukaya M, Tischfield MA, Langseth AJ, Wirtz D, Bergles DE. (2017) Transient opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore induces microdomain calcium transients in astrocyte processes. Neuron 93: 587-605.

​​Hughes EG, Appel B. (2016) The cell biology of CNS myelination. Current Opinions Neurobiology 39:93-100....​

Latest Publications in PubMed, Google Scholar, ORCID


In vivo imagin​g of differentiation of an oligodendrocyte precursor cell over 10 days.

Neuron-glia interactions in the adult CNS​​

The long-term goals of our work is to understand how neuron-glial interactions modulate brain function and contribute to pathology in neurodegenerative disease. Towards this goal, we study the interactions of oligodendrocyte lineage cells with neurons in the adult cerebral cortex.

​Oligodendrocytes are the myelin-forming cells of CNS and their ensheathment of axons is essential for rapid synaptic communication. Oligodendrocyte dysfunction results in a diverse group of pediatric and adult disorders, most notably, X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy and multiple sclerosis. However, our understanding of the functions of oligodendrocytes and their precursors remains in its infancy. We use advanced imaging and cell-specific genetic manipulations to explore dynamic changes in neurons and glial cells in the living adult brain using long-term two-photon in vivo imaging, optogenetics, genetically encoded calcium indicators, and transcriptomics.

Colorized montage of in vivo imaging of the response of an individual oligodendrocyte precursor cell responding to a CNS injury (white) over 30 days. Classification of individual myelin sheaths of oligodendrocytes in a 125 micron cubed volume of layer I of cortex acquired via in vivo imaging.