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International Journal of Photoenergy
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 685617, 7 pages
Research Article

Structural Configuration of Myelin Figures Using Fluorescence Microscopy

1Helmerich Advanced Technology Research Center, School of Material Science and Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, OK 74106, USA
2Helmerich Advanced Technology Research Center, School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Oklahoma State University, Tulsa, OK 74106, USA
3Department of Chemical Engineering and Material Science and Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA

Received 5 May 2012; Accepted 18 October 2012

Academic Editor: Korkut Yegin

Copyright © 2012 Lobat Tayebi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Using epifluorescence microscopy, the configuration of myelin figures that are formed upon hydration of lipid stack was studied qualitatively. Little knowledge is currently available for conditions that determine the diameter of myelin figures and their degree of multilamellarity. Examining more than 300 samples, we realized that there are distinct populations of myelin figures protruding from discrete regions of lipid stack. Each population contains myelin figures with similar diameters. This indicates a direct relationship between local characteristics of parent lipid stack and the diameter of myelin figures. Evidenced by fluorescent images, we classified all the observed myelin figures into three major groups of (1) solid tubes, (2) thin tethers, and (3) hollow tubes. Solid tubes are the most common structure of myelin figures which appeared as dense shiny cylinders. Thin tethers, with long hair-shaped structure, were observed protruding from part of lipid plaque which is likely to be under tension. Hollow tubes were protruded from the parts that are unpinned from the substrate and possibly under low or no tension. The abrupt change in the configuration of myelin figures from solid tubes to hollow ones was described in a reproducible experiment where the pinned region of the parent stack became unpinned. Our observations can indicate a relation between the membrane tension of the source material and the diameter of the myelin figures.