BioWorld - "Myelination Exhibits Plasticity, Links to Behavior in Adult Brain"
Multiple sclerosis is perhaps the best known of the demyelinating disorders, where loss of the insulating sheath called myelin surrounding neurons makes high-speed communication impossible. And social isolation, though it does not cause the loss of existing myelin, slows down the formation of new myelin so that animals who are isolated for a period of time ultimately have less myelin than normal. Scientists from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, who looked at the effects of isolating adult mice on both forebrain myelination and depression-like behaviors. Senior author Dr. Patrizia Casaccia stressed that unlike in demyelinating diseases, existing myelin does not disappear during social isolation. "We are born with very little myelin," Dr. Casaccia said. Myelination proceeds at a rapid pace during the first few years of life. But it continues, to a lesser degree, for decades. "During the third decade of life, new myelin is still being formed." Learn more