Image of the Month: Stripped Away

Published in Fundamentals - Fundamentals June 2021

There is a protective coating around our nerve cells that helps our central nervous system send messages swiftly across our bodies. This insulation, called myelin, is damaged by a variety of so called “demyelinating diseases,’ the most common of which is multiple sclerosis. Researchers like Xitiz Chamling are working to find drugs that could allow doctors to rebuild or replace these protective coverings. This image shows a new system that labels oligodendrocyte progenitor cells (OPCs) that are generated from human stem cells in the lab (seen in red). These progenitor cells will grow into protective myelin forming cells called oligodendrocytes. This red glow allows researchers to sort out future protective cells to study their function. The purified cells can also be used to discover and develop drugs that will help promote myelin repair and help restore function to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis and related diseases.

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