An important stage in oligodendrocyte development is the expression of galactocerebroside (GC), the major glycolipid in myelin. Although oligodendrocyte cell lineage and differentiation in vitro have been the object of many studies, to date there is sparse information on the regulation of GC expression in oligodendrocytes already committed to be positive for GC. We report here that GC expression in these cells is controlled by three serum factors. Two of these, possibly a lipoprotein and a mucoprotein, increase GC levels, whereas the third, probably a glycoprotein, exerts an inhibitory effect. The developmental increase of GC in postnatal rat brain cerebral cultures and its induction by serum factors are reversible phenomena. The isolation of the GC-regulatory factors would allow experimental manipulation of impaired GC expression by differentiated oligodendrocytes.