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The dehydration of frog sciatic nerve has been studied by allowing specimens to become partially or fully dried before fixation and preparation for electron microscopy. Low magnification electron micrographs of OsO 4 -fixed preparations showed marked tissue shrinkage which could be correlated quantitatively with the loss of water during the preliminary drying. KMnO 4 -fixation appeared to cause a rehydration of the dried tissue. Higher magnification electron micrographs of the OsO 4 -fixed preparations showed a sequence of modifications of the myelin layers which could be correlated with changes in the small-angle x-ray diffraction data which were recorded during drying. An intermediate stage of drying was characterised by a partial collapse of layers and a disappearance of the intraperiod dense line in some regions of the myelin sheath. Continuity between collapsed and non-collapsed layers was maintained throughout the sheath. The fully dried preparation showed two main modifications of the myelin layers. In many regions the layers (principal layers) resembled those of normal preparations, but showed an intensification and frequently a doubling of the intraperiod dense line. In addition, there was a very extensive system of fine (40 A periodicity) dense layers, some of which could be demonstrated to be continuous with the principal layers. In such cases it was observed that two of the fine layers were related to each principal layer. The correlation between diffraction data and electron microscope data is discussed, and some speculations are made concerning the molecular significance of the observations. Footnotes Submitted: 27 January 1960 http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Journal of Cell Biology Rockefeller University Press

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