Theory of myelin coiling
James Franck Institute and Department of Physics, University of Chicago, 5640 South Ellis Avenue, 60637, Chicago, IL, USA
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Accepted: 18 January 2006
Published online: 8 February 2006
A new model is proposed to explain coiling of myelins composed of fluid bilayers. This model allows the constituent bilayer cylinders of a myelin to be non-coaxial and the bilayer lateral tension to vary from bilayer to bilayer. The calculations show that a myelin would bend or coil to lower its free energy when the bilayer lateral tension is sufficiently large. From a mechanical point of view, the proposed coiling mechanism is analogous to the classical Euler buckling of a thin elastic rod under axial compression. The analysis of a simple two-bilayer case suggests that a bilayer lateral tension of about 1 dyne/cm can easily induce coiling of myelins of typical lipid bilayers. This model signifies the importance of bilayer lateral tension in determining the morphology of myelinic structures.
PACS: 87.16.Dg Membranes, bilayers, and vesicles – / 82.70.Uv Surfactants, micellar solutions, vesicles, lamellae, amphiphilic systems (hydrophilic and hydrophobic interactions) – / 82.70.-y Disperse systems; complex fluids –
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag, 2006