Tracking nerves rewrapping in myelin in a multiple sclerosis model
Just as the electrical wires in your house are insulated with a layer of plastic casing to protect them and prevent dangerous short-circuits, the electrical wiring of your body – your nerves – are encased in a protective wrapping known as myelin. This is created by specialised cells called oligodendrocytes, which wrap around the long ‘wires’ of the nerves and keep them safe. But although this insulation can reform after some types of nerve damage, it’s not known whether this happens in the complex types of damage seen in the irreversible neurodegenerative condition multiple sclerosis (MS), which happens when the immune system accidentally starts attacking the myelin coating. To find out more, researchers have been tracking how oligodendrocytes recover in a mouse brain following damage with a drug that simulates MS. By following the action in real time, they can start to test potential therapies to stop or even reverse the disease.
BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.
BPoD is also available in Catalan at www.bpod.cat with translations by the University of Valencia.