Effects of galactolipid elimination on oligodendrocyte development and myelination

Jill Marcus, Jeffrey L. Dupree, Brian Popko*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The galactolipids galactocerebroside and sulfatide, which require the enzyme UDP-galactose:ceramide galactosyltransferase (CGT) for their synthesis, are among the most prevalent molecules in the myelin sheath. Numerous studies, mainly using antibody perturbation methods in vitro, have suggested that these molecules are crucial mediators of oligodendrocyte differentiation and myelin formation. Although we have previously demonstrated that myelin formation occurs in CGT null mutant mice, which are incapable of synthesizing the myelin galactolipids, here we show that there are developmental alterations in the CNS of these animals. There is a significant decrease in the number of myelinated axon segments in the mutant spinal cord despite normal levels of myelin gene-specific mRNAs and proteins. Also, there is an increased cellularity in the mature mutant spinal cord and the distinctive morphology of the additional cells suggests that they are actively myelinating oligodendrocytes. Using in situ hybridization techniques, we show that there is a 50% increase in the number of oligodendrocytes in the mutant spinal cord. The data suggest that galactolipids play an important developmental role in regulating the maturation program and final number of oligodendrocytes. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-328
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 19 2000


  • Glycosphingolipids
  • Maturation
  • Mouse mutant
  • Myelination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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