Elemental composition and water content of myelinated axons and glial cells in rat central nervous system

Richard M. LoPachin, Carolyn M. Castiglia, Albert J. Saubermann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The distribution of elements (e.g. Na, Cl, K) and water in CNS cells is unknown. Therefore, electron probe X-ray microanalysis (EPMA) was used to measure water content and concentrations (mmol/kg dry or wet weight) of Na, Mg, P, S, Cl, K and Ca in morphological compartments of myelinated axons and glial cells from rat optic nerve and cervical spinal cord white matter. Axons in both CNS regions exhibited similar water content (∼ 90%), and relatively high concentrations (wet and dry weight) of K with low Na and Ca levels. The K content of axons was related to diameter, i.e. small axons in spinal cord and optic nerve had significantly less (25-50%) K than larger diameter axons from the same CNS region. The elemental composition of spinal cord mitochondria was similar to corresponding axoplasm, whereas the water content (75%) of these organelles was substantially lower than that of axoplasm. In glial cell cytoplasm of both CNS areas, P and K (wet and dry weight) were the most abundant elements and water content was approximately 75%. CNS myelin had predominantly high P levels and the lowest water content (33-55%) of any compartment measured. The results of this study demonstrate that each morphological compartment of CNS axons and glia exhibits a characteristic elemental composition and water content which might be related to the structure and function of that neuronal region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)253-259
Number of pages7
JournalBrain Research
Volume549
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - May 24 1991
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Neuroglia
Axons
Central Nervous System
Water
Optic Nerve
Weights and Measures
Spinal Cord
Electron Probe Microanalysis
Spinal Nerves
Myelin Sheath
Organelles
Mitochondria
Cytoplasm

Keywords

  • Cell water
  • Element
  • Microanalysis
  • Optic nerve
  • Rat
  • Spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Elemental composition and water content of myelinated axons and glial cells in rat central nervous system. / LoPachin, Richard M.; Castiglia, Carolyn M.; Saubermann, Albert J.

In: Brain Research, Vol. 549, No. 2, 24.05.1991, p. 253-259.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

LoPachin, Richard M. ; Castiglia, Carolyn M. ; Saubermann, Albert J. / Elemental composition and water content of myelinated axons and glial cells in rat central nervous system. In: Brain Research. 1991 ; Vol. 549, No. 2. pp. 253-259.
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