Functional Dynamics of Myelin Lipids*

  • S. N. Fewou
  • N. Jackman
  • G. van Meer
  • R. Bansal
  • S. E. Pfeiffer


Biological membranes of living organism are composed of two fundamental components: proteins and lipids. Lipids are defined as water-insoluble biomolecules, which have high solubility in nonpolar organic solvents. They account for more than half of the total mass of myelin, which is an extension of oligodendrocyte plasma membrane that spirally enwraps axons and is critical for efficient nerve conduction. Because of the high lipid content of myelin, in particular glycosphingolipids and cholesterol, it was thought to play a central role in myelin/oligodendrocyte physiology. This view has been strongly supported by multiple approaches, most prominently the gene knockout studies that have significantly enhanced our understanding and appreciation of lipids in the overall function and structure of the CNS myelin. This chapter discusses the role of lipids in the regulation of myelin/oligodendrocyte physiology including oligodendrocyte development, myelin biogenesis and maintenance, and sorting and transport of myelin components.


Peripheral Nervous System Myelin Sheath Sphingoid Base Myelin Membrane Myelin Lipid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

List of Abbreviations:


ATP-binding cassette


2′,3′-cyclic nucleotide 3′-phosphodiesterase


central nervous system


cerebroside sulfotransferase






































myelin-associated glycoprotein


myelin basic protein


multidrug resistant protein




myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein


N-acetylneuraminic acid


proteolipid protein


peripheral nervous system




serine palmitoyltransferase long-chain base



We would like to thank Dr. Martin R. Schiller (UConn Health Center) for useful suggestions during the writing and correction of this chapter. We also acknowledge the support of the National Institutes of Health through the grant NS10861.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. N. Fewou
  • N. Jackman
  • G. van Meer
  • R. Bansal
  • S. E. Pfeiffer

There are no affiliations available

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