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Press Release: First-ever “live” observation of formation and repair of myelin sheaths around nerve fibers

Nerve fibers are surrounded by a myelin sheath. Scientists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have now made the first-ever “live” observations of how this protective layer is formed. The team with SyNergy Member Tim Czopka discovered that the characteristic patterns of the myelin layer are determined at an early stage. However, these patterns can be adjusted as needed in a process apparently controlled by the nerve cells themselves.

14.02.2018

Patterns remain stable

The bodies of humans and animals have the ability – at least to some extent – to repair damaged myelin sheaths. Dr. Tim Czopka, a neuroscientist at TUM and SyNergy Member, has succeeded in making the first-ever "live" observations of this process. Czopka and his team used newly developed markers to visualize the formation myelin segments surrounding axons in the spinal cord of zebrafish.

They concluded: Characteristic patterns made up of myelin segments with different lengths along an axon are defined within a few days after myelin formation begins. Although the segments continue growing from that time onward – as the body of the zebrafish grows – the pattern remains preserved.

Press release Technische Universität München


Muster bleiben stabil

Der Körper von Menschen und Tieren ist zumindest teilweise in der Lage, beschädigte Myelinhüllen zu reparieren. Dr. Tim Czopka, Neurowissenschaftler an der TUM und SyNergy-Mitglied, hat diesen Prozess erstmals „live“ beobachtet. Durch eigens entwickelte Markierungssubstanzen konnten er und sein Team sichtbar machen, wie Myelinsegmente um Axone im Rückenmark von Zebrafischen gebildet werden. Dabei stellten sie fest: Charakteristische Muster mit unterschiedlich langen Myelinsegmenten entlang eines Axons werden innerhalb weniger Tage nach dem Beginn der Myelinbildung festgelegt. Danach wachsen die Segmente zwar weiterhin – schließlich wächst auch der Körper des Fisches – das Muster bleibt aber erhalten.

Pressemitteilung Klinikum rechts der Isar

Pressemitteilung Technische Universität München