The integrity of myelin sheaths is maintained by oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells respectively in the central nervous system (CNS) and in the peripheral nervous system. The process of demyelination consisting of the withdrawal of myelin sheaths from their axons is a characteristic feature of multiple sclerosis, the most common human demyelinating disease. Many experimental models have been designed to study the biology of demyelination and remyelination (repair of the lost myelin) in the CNS, due to the difficulties in studying human material. In the ethidium bromide (an intercalating gliotoxic drug) model of demyelination, CNS remyelination may be carried out by surviving oligodendrocytes and/or by cells differentiated from the primitive cell lines or either by Schwann cells that invade the CNS. However, some factors such as the age of the experimental animals, intensity and time of exposure to the intercalating chemical and the topography of the lesions have marked influence on the repair of the tissue.
toxic demyelination; remyelination; central nervous system; peripheral nervous system