Neuroscience

Multiple sclerosis – helping cells to help themselves

Diseases such as multiple sclerosis are characterized by damage to the myelin sheath, a protective covering wrapped around nerve cells akin to insulation around an electrical wire. Researchers from Charité - Universitätsmedizin ...

Neuroscience

Research sheds light on spinal cord injuries

Thousands of people worldwide suffer severe spinal cord injuries each year, but little is known about why these injuries often continue to deteriorate long after the initial damage occurs.

Myelin

Myelin is a dielectric (electrically insulating) material that forms a layer, the myelin sheath, usually around only the axon of a neuron. It is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. Myelin is an outgrowth of a type of glial cell. The production of the myelin sheath is called myelination. In humans, the production of myelin begins in the fourteenth week of fetal development, although little myelin exists in the brain at the time of birth. During infancy, myelination occurs quickly and continues through the adolescent stages of life.

Schwann cells supply the myelin for peripheral neurons, whereas oligodendrocytes, specifically of the interfascicular type, myelinate the axons of the central nervous system. Myelin is considered a defining characteristic of the (gnathostome) vertebrates, but myelin-like sheaths have also arisen by parallel evolution in some invertebrates, although they are quite different from vertebrate myelin at the molecular level. Myelin was discovered in 1854 by Rudolf Virchow.

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