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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 
 
 
 

Morphological study of disordered myelination and the degeneration of nerve fibers in the spinal cord of mice lacking complex gangliosides.

Gangliosides, a family of glycosphingolipids that contain sialic acid, are abundant on the neuronal cell membranes, but their precise functions in the central nervous system remain largely undefined. In a previous study of GalNAc-T(-/-) mice engineered to lack beta1,4-N-acetylgalactos-aminyltransferase (GM2/GD2 synthase) to abolish any, complex gangliosides, we observed the reduction of nerve conduction velocity but did not find any obvious morphological change in the brain. In the present study, we observed morphological changes in the nerve fiber tracts of the spinal cord in these mice. In GalNAc-T(-/-) mice, the number of degenerated axons was markedly increased in the dorsal funiculus, tract of Lissauer, and dorsolateral funiculus of the cervical segment of the spinal cord as well as the dorsal funiculus and tract of Lissauer of the lumbar segment of the spinal cord. There were also increased numbers of unmyelinated fibers in GalNAc-T(-/-) mice. Loosened myelin sheaths and myelin sheaths separated from axons by wide spaces were also observed in GalNAc-T(-/-) mice. These results provide a morphological basis for the previously observed reduction in the nerve conduction velocity and suggest that complex gangliosides are essential for the maintenance of myelin and the integrity of nerve fibers of the spinal cord.[1]

References

  1. Morphological study of disordered myelination and the degeneration of nerve fibers in the spinal cord of mice lacking complex gangliosides. Ma, Q., Kobayashi, M., Sugiura, M., Ozaki, N., Nishio, K., Shiraishi, Y., Furukawa, K., Furukawa, K., Sugiura, Y. Arch. Histol. Cytol. (2003) [Pubmed]
 
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