Myelin, which insulates axons in the central nervous system is produced by oligodendrocytes. But not all oligodendrocytes are equal.
Led by Dr. Jonathan Vinet of the Université Laval in Quebec, scientists have identified three different types of oligodendrocytes in the mouse hippocampus: “ramified,” “stellar,” and “smooth.”
Each type displayed varying morphological characteristics, mainly in shape, volume, and branching behavior, which led the researchers to believe that the three types represent different stages of maturation.
As described in the paper, “Subclasses of oligodendrocytes populate the mouse hippocampus,” published in the European Journal of Neuroscience, the “smooth,” or most simple type possibly morphs into the “stellar,” which eventually develops into the most complex of the three, the “ramified” oligodendrocyte.
The identification of these morphologically distinct oligodendrocyte populations in the hippocampus may help researchers determine which specific types of oligodendrocytes are affected in diseases such as schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.
Using a Neurolucida system with an Olympus AX-50 microscope, the scientists formed 3D reconstructions of the hippocampal oligodendrocytes integral to their study. They then analyzed their tracings with Neurolucida Explorer.
“Without Neurolucida we couldn’t have carried out this study,” said Dr. Attila Sik, “it was an essential component. Nice piece of equipment, for sure.”
Read the free abstract, or access the full article (by subscription), at the European Journal of Neuroscience.