Age-related myelin degradation burdens the clearance function of microglia during aging

Nat Neurosci. 2016 Aug;19(8):995-8. doi: 10.1038/nn.4325. Epub 2016 Jun 13.


Myelin is synthesized as a multilamellar membrane, but the mechanisms of membrane turnover are unknown. We found that myelin pieces were gradually released from aging myelin sheaths and were subsequently cleared by microglia. Myelin fragmentation increased with age and led to the formation of insoluble, lipofuscin-like lysosomal inclusions in microglia. Thus, age-related myelin fragmentation is substantial, leading to lysosomal storage and contributing to microglial senescence and immune dysfunction in aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Demyelinating Diseases / chemically induced
  • Demyelinating Diseases / metabolism
  • Lipofuscin / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microglia / metabolism*
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism*


  • Lipofuscin