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glial cells

Glial cells are maintenance and support cells in the central nervous system (CNS). They are 10 times as numerous as the nerve cells (neurons) which they look after and make up about half the wieght of the brain. There are a number of different types of glial cell in the CNS including: oligodendrocytes, astrocytes and microglia. Analogous cells in the Peripheral Nervous System (PNS) are Schwann and Satellite cells.

Not all the functions of glial cells are understood but some of their functions are:

Glial cells, especially oligodendrocytes are often destroyed at the site of multiple sclerosis lesions. This postpones or even prevents the repair of the damaged myelin. Working out how to transport new oligodendrocytes to the site of lesions or growing new ones from stem cells is the focus of some of the reseach into new treatments for MS.

Glial cell links:
Neuroscience for Kids - Glia
Glial Cells
Glial cells and growth factors
Glial Cells and Multiple Sclerosis
Glial Cells
Protection of neurons by Glial Cells
Glial Cells
In vitro differentiation of embryonic stem cells into glial cells and functional neurons

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