The premature increase of oxygen tension may contribute to oligodendroglial precursor cell (OPC) damage in preterm infants. Fetal OPCs are exposed to low oxygen tissue tensions not matched when cells are cultured in room air. Maturation (A2B5, O4, O1, MBP, CNP, arborization), oxidative stress (nitrotyrosine Western blot, NRF2 and SOD2 expression), apoptosis (TUNEL), proliferation (Ki67), and expression of transcription factors regulated by Hypoxia-Inducible-Factor-1-alpha (Hif-1α) expressed in OPCs (Olig1, Olig2, Sox9, Sox10) were assessed in rat OPCs and OLN93 cells cultured at 5% O2 and 21% O2. Influences of Hif-1α were investigated by Hif-1α luciferase reporter assays and Hif-1α-knockdown experiments. At 21% O2, cell proliferation was decreased and process arborization of OPCs was reduced. Expression of MBP, CNP, Olig1, Sox9 and Sox10 was lower at 21% O2, while Nrf2, SOD2, nitrotyrosine were increased. Apoptosis was unchanged. Luciferease reporter assay in OLN93 cells indicated increased Hif-1α activity at 5% O2. In OLN93 cells at 5% O2, Hif-1α knockdown decreased the expression of MBP and CNP, similar to that observed at 21% O2. These data indicate that culturing OPCs at 21% O2 negatively affects development and maturation. Both enhanced oxidative stress and reduced expression of Hif-1α-regulated genes contribute to these hyperoxia-induced changes.