Axon myelination model using Mimetix aligned fibres

"Oligodendrocyte". Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

“Oligodendrocyte”. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons

A recent study published by Dr Marie Bechler of the Centre for Regenerative Medicine in Edinburgh (Current Biology 25, 1-6, September 21, 2015, Bechler et al.) has demonstrated that oligodendrocytes have an extraordinary ability to self-regulate the formation of compact, multi-lamellar myelin and to generate sheaths of physiological length, using The Electrospinning Company’s poly(L-lactide) aligned fibre inserts as models of axons.

Oligodendrocytes are found in the central nervous system which comprises the brain and spinal cord. Their main functions are to provide support by creating myelin sheaths, the lengths of which directly determine axonal conduction velocity. Demyelination is the loss of the myelin sheath insulating the nerves, and is the hallmark of some neurodegenerative autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis.

Aligned Mimetix fibres

Aligned Mimetix fibres

The study showed that oligodendrocytes in neuron free culture conditions can form myelin sheaths without molecular instructions from axons and have the ability to sense diameter, creating longer myelin sheath lengths on larger diameter fibres. Furthermore, the study demonstrated for the first time that oligodendrocyte precursor cells isolated from different regions of the central nervous system have intrinsic differences that dictate the relative length of sheath formed that reflect their in vivo origin.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *