Neuroscience

Molecule tells key brain cells to grow up, get to work: study

About four out of every 10 cells in the brain are so-called oligodendrocytes. These cells produce the all-important myelin that coats nerve tracts, ensuring fast, energy-efficient transmission of nerve impulses. Mixed among ...

Neuroscience

A new roadmap for repairing the damage of multiple sclerosis

Research published today in the journal Nature provides new understanding about how drugs can repair damaged brain cells that cause disability in patients with multiple sclerosis. Led by researchers at Case Western Reserve ...

Immunology

Altering the immune system to reverse paralysis

In the ultimate betrayal, one's own immune system can turn against the protective sheath that envelops neurons in the brain, leaving the body paralyzed. Researchers have developed an experimental treatment that tames the ...

Neuroscience

Possible treatment for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease discovered

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is the most common hereditary neuropathy and affects more than 2 million people worldwide. Researchers at the Max-Planck-Institute for Experimental Medicine and the University Medical Center of ...

Neuroscience

Sleep boosts production of brain support cells

Sleep increases the reproduction of the cells that go on to form the insulating material on nerve cell projections in the brain and spinal cord known as myelin, according to an animal study published in the September 4 issue ...

Neuroscience

Researchers solve multiple sclerosis puzzle

Evidence has long suggested multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease, but researchers have been puzzled because they found the same T cells that attack the myelin sheathing around nerve cells in MS patients are present ...

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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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