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Glia. 1992;5(3):161-70.

Rumpshaker: an X-linked mutation causing hypomyelination: developmental differences in myelination and glial cells between the optic nerve and spinal cord.

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Applied Neurobiology Group, University of Glasgow, Scotland.


The X-linked mutation rumpshaker (rsh), which is probably an allele of jimpy (jp), causes hypomyelination in the CNS of mice. This study examines the developmental expression of the morphology, glial cells, and immunostaining of myelin proteins in the optic nerve and spinal cord. The optic nerve contains varying numbers of amyelinated and myelinated fibres. The majority of such sheaths are of normal thickness whereas in the spinal cord most axons are associated with a disproportionately thin sheath which changes little in thickness during development. In the optic nerve glial cell numbers are elevated in mutants during early and peak myelination but then fall slightly below normal in adults. In contrast, the number of glial cells is consistently elevated after 16 days of age in the spinal cord. The majority of the alterations to total glial cells are due to corresponding changes in the oligodendrocyte population. Immunostaining intensity is somewhat reduced for myelin basic protein (MBP) and the C-terminal common to proteolipid protein (PLP) and DM-20 and profoundly decreased for the PLP-specific peptide. Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) is increased in rsh. It is probable that some of the variation in myelination between optic nerve and cord in rsh is related to the difference in axon diameter in the two locations, as there are adequate numbers of oligodendrocytes at the time of myelination. However, the effect of the mutation on cell development in the brain and the spinal cord may be different. The immunostaining indicates a marked deficiency in PLP in myelin but suggests that DM-20 levels may be relatively normal. rsh shows several major differences from jp and other X-linked myelin mutants, particularly in relation to oligodendrocyte numbers, and will be useful to elucidate the role of the PLP gene in influencing oligodendrocyte differentiation and survival.

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