(322g) Impacts of Myelin Lipid Compositions on Their Biomechanical Properties and Implications for Demyelination | AIChE

(322g) Impacts of Myelin Lipid Compositions on Their Biomechanical Properties and Implications for Demyelination


Zhang, Y. - Presenter, University of Akron
Fischer, I., University of California, Riverside
Darwish, M., University of California, Riverside
Maldonado, E., University of California, Riverside
White, A., University of California, Riverside
Min, Y., University Of California Riverside
The myelin sheath is a critical component of the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). It is a multilamellar membrane consisting of a coiled bilayer that acts as an electrical insulator for nerve impulses traveling along axons between nerve cells. Myelin’s effectiveness as an electrical insulator is correlated with its thickness and compactness, and its ability to closely pack both the cytoplasmic faces within and the extracellular faces outside of each layer is critical for proper function, otherwise leading to serious neurological diseases including multiple sclerosis.

Compared to other membranes in the body, the myelin sheath contains a large lipid fraction in the range of 75-80% of the dry mass, compared to about 50% in other membranes, consisting of many different lipids falling primarily within the classes of glycerophospholipids, sphingolipids, and sterols. The lipids in the myelin sheath play a critical role in membrane stability and compaction, and it has been shown that the lipid composition differs significantly between healthy specimens and those sensitized with experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). While previous investigations have used model lipid bilayers and monolayers to study their interactions with important proteins including myelin basic protein (MBP) and proteolipid protein (PLP), our understanding of the role of lipid composition on membrane formation thermodynamics and rheology, particularly when comparing healthy versus diseased membranes, is lacking.

In this presentation, we report our recent findings regarding the effect of individual lipid species, in particular, total cerebrosides (TCERs, hydroxylated as well as non-hydroxylated ones) on the formation and interfacial dilatational rheology of lipid monolayers modeling myelin membranes. We use a Langmuir trough for both surface pressure versus area isotherms and oscillating area interfacial rheology measurements, all performed at approximately body temperature (37°C). From isotherm data, we calculate differences in the Gibbs free energy of mixing between the four monolayers to show differences in intermolecular interactions and miscibility. These results are used to support observations in interfacial rheology results to better assess the role of TCERs on the overall myelin membrane mechanics. We also analyze the nonlinear rheological behavior of the monolayers, for example observing in general film softening during compression and expansion.

These comprehensive biomechanical measurements of myelin membranes with systematically varying the amount of TCERs are expected to improve our understanding on the implications of the different lipid compositions. We further anticipate our findings will provide scientific clues on how subtle changes in lipid compositions may impact the structural integrity of myeline membranes, potentially leading to demyelination.