This invention provides a method for co-culturing isolated motoneurons with Schwann cells in a chemically defined serum-free medium that supports the growth and myelination of the motoneurons.
Demyelinating neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis result from damage to the insulating myelin sheath surrounding motoneurons. Loss of this myelin sheath significantly impairs signal transduction by the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). In the PNS, myelination is an intricate process requiring the interaction between motoneurons and Schwann cells which form the myelin.
The ability to culture motoneurons and Schwann cells in vitro with myelination as the end result is essential for studying diseases associated with myelination and for drug development. However, model systems that represent the myelination of motoneurons have been difficult to develop. This invention demonstrates the complete myelination of motoneurons by Schwann cells in vitro, including the formation of the Nodes of Ranvier, the specialized unmyelinated regions on the motoneurons.
- Reproducible in vitro model for studying the myelination process
- Chemically defined serum free-medium
- Complete Nodes of Ranvier formation
- This system would allow the study of both central and peripheral demyelinating neuropathies such as multiple sclerosis, Guillain-Barre’s Syndrome, diabetes associated peripheral neuropathies and progressive muscular atrophy under controlled conditions
See related technology: "Method and Tools to Study Neuromuscular Junction" Technology Number: 31152