Myelination and Node of Ranvier Formation in a Human Motoneuron-Schwann Cell Serum-Free Coculture

ACS Chem Neurosci. 2020 Sep 2;11(17):2615-2623. doi: 10.1021/acschemneuro.0c00287. Epub 2020 Aug 18.


Myelination and node of Ranvier formation play an important role in the rapid conduction of nerve impulses, referred to as saltatory conduction, along axons in the peripheral nervous system. We report a human-human myelination model using human primary Schwann cells (SCs) and human-induced pluripotent stem-cell-derived motoneurons utilizing a serum-free medium supplemented with ascorbate to induce myelination, where 41.6% of SCs expressed the master transcription factor for myelination, early growth response protein 2. After 30 days in coculture, myelin segments were visualized using immunocytochemistry for myelin basic protein surrounding neurofilament-stained motor neuron axons, which was confirmed via 3D confocal Raman microscopy, a viable alternative for transmission electron microscopy analysis. The myelination efficiency was 65%, and clusters of voltage-gated sodium channels and the paranodal protein contactin-associated protein 1 indicated node of Ranvier formation. This model has applications to study remyelination and demyelinating diseases, including Charcot-Marie Tooth disorder, Guillian-Barre syndrome, and anti-myelin-associated glycoprotein peripheral neuropathy.

Keywords: 3D structure; Human; Myelination; Node of Ranvier; Serum-free; iPSCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Axons
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Humans
  • Motor Neurons
  • Myelin Sheath*
  • Schwann Cells*