The dehydration of rat optic nerve has been studied by allowing specimens to become partially or fully dried before fixation and preparation for electron microscopy. A correlation is established between electron micrographs of the myelin sheath and corresponding small-angle x-ray diffraction patterns. The modifications of the optic nerve myelin layers during drying were very similar to those described in more detail for the myelin of frog sciatic nerve. The most striking difference was that the system of fine layers characteristic of the fully dried myelin was much more extensive in the case of the optic nerve, and the layer thickness was significantly greater than the corresponding layer in the frog sciatic nerve preparation. The significance of these correlations is discussed.

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