HIV & AIDS

How HIV infection shrinks the brain's white matter

It's long been known that people living with HIV experience a loss of white matter in their brains. As opposed to "gray matter," which is composed of the cell bodies of neurons, white matter is made up of a fatty substance ...

Oligodendrocyte

Oligodendrocytes (from Greek, meaning cells with a few branches), or oligodendroglia (Greek, few tree glue), are a type of brain cell. They are a variety of neuroglia. Their main function is the insulation of axons (the long projection of nerve cells) in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) of some vertebrates. (The same function is performed by Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system). A single oligodendrocyte can extend its processes to 50 axons, wrapping around approximately 1 μm of myelin sheath around each axon; Schwann cells, on the other hand, can wrap around only 1 axon.

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