A correlative light and electron microscopic study of postnatal myelination in the murine corpus callosum

András Vincze, Mária Mázló, László Seress, Sámuel Komoly, Hajnalka Ábrahám

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42 Citations (Scopus)


Oligodendroglial cells differ in their ultrastructural appearance depending on their myelin producing and maintaining activity. To better understand the relationship between light and electron microscopic features of myelination, myelin formation in the corpus callosum was studied in young postnatal mice. Immunostaining for myelin basic protein (MBP), which has an important role in myelin compaction, was compared with conventional Luxol Fast Blue myelin staining and with electron microscopic images of unlabeled tissue. MBP-immunostaining labeled a few oligodendroglial cells at postnatal day (P)3, and a few axons at P7 in the corpus callosum, below the fronto-parietal somatosensory cortex. By P10 there were more myelinated axons below the somatosensory cortex and the first MBP-immunoreaction appeared in the cingulum: labeling appeared even later in the remaining areas of corpus callosum. Electron microscopy revealed numerous medium oligodendroglial cells at P7 in the corpus callosum, below the somatosensory cortex with the first sign of myelination at P10. By P14, there were numerous myelin sheaths with loosely built structure, and the number of myelin sheaths increased continuously thereafter. However, even as late as P28, the presence of both thick, compact and thin, loosely structured myelin sheaths in the same section suggested ongoing myelination. With Luxol Fast Blue myelin staining was first observed in the corpus callosum relatively late, at P14. Areal differences in myelination of the corpus callosum, seen with MBP-immunohistochemistry, indicate that myelin formation follows cortical maturation rather than the rostro-caudal developmental growth of the corpus callosum. Myelination of the afferent and efferent fibers within the cortical areas seems to follow the inside-out maturational pattern of cortical neurons, with the first myelinated axons always appearing in layers V-VI. In addition to the known neuronal and astroglial factors that regulate myelin formation by oligodendroglial cells, we suggest that these cells and their myelin covering may also influence axonal maturation. Light microscopic data obtained with MBP-immunohistochemistry correlates well with electron microscopic observations but not with Luxol Fast Blue staining which reveals myelinated axons only relatively late in development. Therefore, both MBP-immunostaining and electron microscopy are useful, alone or in combination, for the detection of myelination, demyelination as well as remyelination processes in animal models and also in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-584
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Developmental Neuroscience
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2008


  • Cortical development
  • Myelin basic protein
  • Myelin formation
  • Neuronal maturation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology

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