Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 113, Issue 1, pp 1–18

On the molecular architecture of myelinated fibers

  • E. J. Arroyo
  • S. S. Scherer

DOI: 10.1007/s004180050001

Cite this article as:
Arroyo, E. & Scherer, S. Histochemistry (2000) 113: 1. doi:10.1007/s004180050001


Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes make the myelin sheaths of the PNS and CNS, respectively. Their myelin sheaths are structurally similar, consisting of multiple layers of specialized cell membrane that spiral around axons, but there are several differences. (1) CNS myelin has a ”radial component” composed of a tight junction protein, claudin-11/oligodendrocyte-specific protein. (2) Schwann cells have a basal lamina and microvilli. (3) Although both CNS and PNS myelin sheaths have incisures, those in the CNS lack the structural as well as the molecular components of ”reflexive” adherens junctions and gap junctions. In spite of their structural differences, the axonal membranes of the PNS and CNS are similarly organized. The nodal axolemma contains high concentrations of voltage-dependent sodium channels that are linked to the axonal cytoskeleton by ankyrinG. The paranodal membrane contains Caspr/paranodin, which may participate in the formation of axoglial junctions. The juxtaparanodal axonal membrane contains the potassium channels Kv1.1 and Kv1.2, their associated β2 subunit, as well as Caspr2, which is closely related to Caspr. The myelin sheath probably organizes these axonal membrane-related proteins via trans interactions.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. J. Arroyo
    • 1
  • S. S. Scherer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Room 460 Stemmler Hall, 36th Street and Hamilton Walk, The University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA e-mail: scherer@mail.med.upenn.edu Tel.: +1-215-5733198, Fax: +1-215-573-2029US

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