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Axonal Swellings and Degeneration in Mice Lacking the Major Proteolipid of Myelin

Science  05 Jun 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5369, pp. 1610-1613
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5369.1610

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Abstract

Glial cells produce myelin and contribute to axonal morphology in the nervous system. Two myelin membrane proteolipids, PLP and DM20, were shown to be essential for the integrity of myelinated axons. In the absence of PLP-DM20, mice assembled compact myelin sheaths but subsequently developed widespread axonal swellings and degeneration, associated predominantly with small-caliber nerve fibers. Similar swellings were absent in dysmyelinated shiverer mice, which lack myelin basic protein (MBP), but recurred in MBP*PLP double mutants. Thus, fiber degeneration, which was probably secondary to impaired axonal transport, could indicate that myelinated axons require local oligodendroglial support.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: nave{at}sun0.urz.uni-heidelberg.de

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