Myelin sheath formation depends on appropriate axo-glial interactions that are mediated by myelin-specific surface molecules. In this study, we have used quantitative morphological analyses to determine the roles of the prominent myelin lipids galactocerebroside (GalC) and sulfatide in both central and peripheral myelin formation, exploiting mutant mice incapable of synthesizing these lipids. Our results demonstrate a significant increase in uncompacted myelin sheaths, the frequency of multiple cytoplasmic loops, redundant myelin profiles, and Schmidt-Lanterman incisures in the CNS of these mutant mice. In contrast, PNS myelin appeared structurally normal in these animals; however, at post-natal day 10, greater than 10% of the axons withered and pulled away from their myelin sheaths. These results indicate that GalC and sulfatide are critical to the formation of CNS myelin. In contrast, PNS myelin formation is not dependent on these lipids; however, GalC and sulfatide appear to be instrumental in maintaining Schwann cell- axon contact during a specific developmental window.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology