The Biochemistry of Myelinogenesis in the Central Nervous System

  • Alan N. Davison
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 13)


The myelin sheath is built up of many lipoprotein lamellae wrapped around the axon in a continuous sheet of membrane leading from the plasma membrane of the oligodendroglial cell. Immediately before myelination begins, movement of the formative oligodendroglial cells occurs and the glial cell promulgates wrapping, at first, loosely round the axon. At this early stage lipid droplets containing cholesterol esters (1) accumulate in the brain serving, perhaps, as a reservoir of sterol and fatty acids for the needs of the developing tissue. In the rat cholesterol and phospholipid biosynthesis reaches a maximum rate by about 10 days after birth but the most rapid synthesis of sulphatides and cerebroside is further delayed by more than a week. This sequence of change correlates well with the accumulation of lipids in the developing brain (2,3) but not with the histology. Thus in the kitten optic nerve although myelin rings can be easily detected 16 days after birth, the typical myelin constituent is virtually absent, even after 27 days much less galactolipid is detectable than would be anticipated from the morphology (4).


Myelin Sheath Oligodendroglial Cell Phospholipid Biosynthesis Myelin Lipid Myelin Fraction 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1971

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan N. Davison
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryCharing Cross Hospital Medical SchoolLondon W.C.2USA

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