Motor neurons allow the body to move, speak, and breathe due to the propagation of action potentials between neuron nodes. The space between neurons, known as a node of Ranvier, are protected by a myelin sheath. When these nodes or sheaths, become damaged, they lead to demyelinating neuropathies such as schizophrenia, multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and many more. Being of such importance, research aimed towards the regrowth of the myelin sheaths and re-formation of the nodes of Ranvier for decades, though this research is both timely and costly as human tissue samples, typically human brain tissue, are required to proceed. Researchers at the University of Central Florida have developed a biomimetic, non-biological model for formation of myelin and nodes of Ranvier to study demyelinating diseases and test novel therapeutics. These models are based on the deposition of extracellular matrix proteins, such as collagen, onto glass coverslips, which have been functionalized with UCT’s trimethoxysilylpropyldiethylenetriamine (UCT PART# T2910). Stem cells and other neuron-based cells were incubated on these coverslips, and the researchers were able to confirm that both myelin and node of Ranvier formation had indeed occurred. This novel model can reduce the time and cost of research in the future as there is no further need to obtain complicated samples such as brain tissue to study demyelinating disorders, but instead can be combined with induced pluripotent stem cells, created from easy-to-obtain blood or skin cells, to replicate the disease outside of a human body.
Citation: Patel, P.; Rumsey, J. W.; Lorance, C.; Long, C. J.; Lee, B.; Tetard, L.; Lambert, S.; Hickman, J. J, Myelination and Node of Ranvier Formation in a Human Motoneuron−Schwann Cell Serum-Free Coculture, ACS Chem. Neurosci., 2020, 11, 2615-2623.