Roadmap for Postnatal Brain Maturation: Changes in Gray and White Matter Composition during Development Measured by Fourier Transformed Infrared Microspectroscopy

Marta Peris, Núria Benseny-Cases, Gemma Manich*, Oriana Zerpa, Beatriz Almolda, Àlex Perálvarez-Marín, Berta González, Bernardo Castellano

*Autor corresponent d’aquest treball

Producció científica: Contribució a una revistaArticleRecercaAvaluat per experts


Key events in postnatal brain development, such as neuronal migration, synaptogenesis, and myelination, shape the adult brain. These events are reflected in changes in gray and white matter (GM and WM) occurring during this period. Therefore, precise knowledge of GM and WM composition in perinatal brain development is crucial to characterizing brain formation as well as the neurodevelopmental disruption observed in diseases such as autism and schizophrenia. In this study, we combined histochemical and immunohistochemical staining with biochemical and biophysical analyses using Fourier transform infrared (IR) microspectroscopy (μFTIR) to better understand the chemical changes during postnatal developmental myelination. For this purpose, we analyzed the GM and WM in the mouse brain and cerebellum (strain C57BL/6) from postnatal day 0 (P0) to day P28 and established presumed correlations between staining and IR data. IR spectra allowed the (i) quantification of lipid and protein content through the CH2/amide I ratio, (ii) determination of chemical characteristics of lipids, such as the presence of unsaturated bonds in the carbonate chain or carbonyls from ester groups in the polar head, and (iii) determination of the protein secondary structure (α-helix and intramolecular β-sheets). The results indicate that the increase in the CH2/amide I ratio calculated from the μFTIR data correlates well with lipid histochemical staining. IR data indicated a change in the lipid composition in WM since carbonyl and unsaturated olefinic groups do not increase when lipids accumulate during myelination. Our correlation analysis between IR data and immunohistochemical staining of myelin-associated proteins revealed that myelin oligodendrocyte protein correlated well with lipid accumulation, while myelin basic protein appeared before lipid modifications, which indicated that myelin-associated proteins and lipid deposition were not synchronic. These events were related to a decrease in the intramolecular β/α protein ratio. Our results indicate that lipids and proteins in WM substantially change their composition due to primary myelination, and according to results obtained from staining, these modifications are better described by lipid histochemical staining than by immunohistochemistry against myelin-related proteins. In conclusion, μFTIR can be a useful technique to study WM during perinatal development and provide detailed information about alterations in the chemical composition related to neurodevelopmental diseases.
Idioma originalEnglish
Pàgines (de-a)3088-3102
Nombre de pàgines15
RevistaACS Chemical Neuroscience
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - 6 de set. 2023


  • Development
  • Gray matter
  • Myelination
  • μFTIR


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