We have demonstrated that myelination of dorsal root ganglion (DRG) axons occurs in a fully defined, serum-free medium (B27). This implies that there may be components in B27 medium that support myelination. To determine which of the components in B27 were essential for myelination, we systematically removed components from B27 until myelination was lost. We added these components to a fully defined minimal medium (N2) that supports neuron survival but not myelination. When antioxidants were removed from B27, myelination was lost. However, the individual antioxidants did not induce myelination when added to N2 medium. Addition of ascorbic acid along with the B27 antioxidants was sufficient to induce myelination in N2 medium, which was enhanced by retinyl acetate. Removal of vitamin E from B27 caused a partial loss of myelination, and addition of vitamin E to N2 medium containing ascorbic acid induced partial myelination. Addition of serum to the B27 myelinating medium inhibited myelination completely. These results indicate that antioxidants are important for myelination, in vitro. Vitamin E may play an important role. Use of a serum-free medium may be beneficial for in vitro myelination studies because serum has unknown inhibitory effects.
- Basal lamina
- Schwann cells
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience