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Sci Rep. 2016 Aug 19;6:31685. doi: 10.1038/srep31685.

Intravital assessment of myelin molecular order with polarimetric multiphoton microscopy.

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Centre de recherche de l'Institut Universitaire en Santé Mentale de Québec, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1J 2G3, Canada.
Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, School of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO 80045, USA.
Centre d'Optique, Photonique et Laser, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V 0A6, Canada.


Myelin plays an essential role in the nervous system and its disruption in diseases such as multiple sclerosis may lead to neuronal death, thus causing irreversible functional impairments. Understanding myelin biology is therefore of fundamental and clinical importance, but no tools currently exist to describe the fine spatial organization of myelin sheaths in vivo. Here we demonstrate intravital quantification of the myelin molecular structure using a microscopy method based on polarization-resolved coherent Raman scattering. Developmental myelination was imaged noninvasively in live zebrafish. Longitudinal imaging of individual axons revealed changes in myelin organization beyond the diffraction limit. Applied to promyelination drug screening, the method uniquely enabled the identification of focal myelin regions with differential architectures. These observations indicate that the study of myelin biology and the identification of therapeutic compounds will largely benefit from a method to quantify the myelin molecular organization in vivo.

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