Neuron/Oligodendrocyte Myelination Coculture
Myelination cell culture systems are useful tools for studying myelin biology and myelin-related disorders. Compared to a number of established protocols for dissociated pure oligodendrocyte (OL) culture, methods for myelination culture are limited. We recently developed a mixed neuron-glia coculture system that generates robust and efficient myelination. By optimizing cell culture conditions, dissociated neural progenitor cells from embryonic rat spinal cords develop into neurons and glial cells including profiles of oligodendrocyte (OL) lineage. Within 4 weeks, OL progenitor cells (OPC) proliferate, differentiate into mature OLs, and myelinate axons. The formation of compact myelin sheath is confirmed by electron microscopy. For morphological analysis by light microscopy, cells grown on glass coverslips are fixed and immunostained for various myelin-related proteins, including those embedded within the myelin sheath and those clustered at the node of Ranvier. Myelinated axons can be quantified readily by either manual counting or ImageJ software. The culture system may also be used for electron microscopic analysis by slightly modifying the cell culture procedure.
Key wordsMyelination Oligodendrocyte Axon Embryonic Spinal cord Cell culture
This work was supported by NIH grants 2R56NS054278, MH084194, and by funds from the Department of Pediatrics, University of Mississippi Medical Center. We thank Glenn Hoskins for his excellent technical support in EM study.
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