Journal: Current Biology
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The dynamic remodelling of nerve-fibre insulation
© ROGER HARRIS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty
Live imaging of fluorescing zebrafish, known for their genetic similarities to humans, has shown that nerve fibre sheaths grow dynamically, and can remodel themselves over the course of a lifetime.
A team led by researchers at the Technical University of Munich conducted live imaging of zebrafish designed so their myelin sheaths — insulating envelopes of fatty tissue that protect nerve fibres — and linking nodal points, fluoresced different colours under the microscope.
They discovered that the major portion of myelin sheath growth occurred in the first three days. Afterwards, growth continued, but much more slowly, as the fish grew bigger. When a single sheath was destroyed, the neighbouring sheaths on the nerve fibre underwent a remodelling process to restore the damage according to its original pattern. This study is the first live observation of this process.
These results improve our understanding of the development, function and repair of nerve networks.
- Current Biology 28, 549–559 (2018). doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.01.017