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The Brain's Insulation

  • Published1 Nov 2013
  • Reviewed1 Nov 2013
  • Author Michael W. Richardson
  • Source BrainFacts/SfN

Oligodendrocytes in the brain

A healthy nervous system requires a huge number of different cells, each fulfilling a specialized role in the brain. Oligodendrocytes (pictured here in red and yellow) offer support to neurons (in blue) by insulating their long projections, allowing messages to move quickly between cells. While the oligodendrocyte in red is healthy, the cell in yellow is missing a single gene that inhibits its ability to provide support to surrounding neurons. By studying this gene, researchers hope to enhance knowledge of brain diseases that are characterized by changes in oligodendrocytes, such as multiple sclerosis.

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