SUMMARY Healthy oligodendrocytes are crucial for neurons and abnormal functioning of these cells is involved in several neurodegenerative diseases. We will focus on oligodendroglial pathology in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), an adult-onset progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by selective motor neuron loss. Recent discoveries shed new light on the crucial role of oligodendrocytes in this fatal disease. We will first give an overview of the importance of good-functioning oligodendrocytes for neuronal health, in particular for motor neurons. Subsequently, we will discuss the recent data on oligodendroglial abnormalities in ALS. We conclude that oligodendrocytes should be considered as important contributors to motor neuron degeneration. As a consequence, oligodendrocytes are a promising new therapeutic target for ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases.