<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

The appearance of the myelin sheath can be thought of as similar to the pastry wrapped around a hot dog for “pigs in a blanket” or a similar food. The glial cell is wrapped around the axon several times with little to no cytoplasm between the glial cell layers. For oligodendrocytes, the rest of the cell is separate from the myelin sheath as a cell process extends back toward the cell body. A few other processes provide the same insulation for other axon segments in the area. For Schwann cells, the outermost layer of the cell membrane contains cytoplasm and the nucleus of the cell as a bulge on one side of the myelin sheath. During development, the glial cell is loosely or incompletely wrapped around the axon ( [link] a ). The edges of this loose enclosure extend toward each other, and one end tucks under the other. The inner edge wraps around the axon, creating several layers, and the other edge closes around the outside so that the axon is completely enclosed.

View the University of Michigan WebScope at (External Link)& to see an electron micrograph of a cross-section of a myelinated nerve fiber. The axon contains microtubules and neurofilaments that are bounded by a plasma membrane known as the axolemma. Outside the plasma membrane of the axon is the myelin sheath, which is composed of the tightly wrapped plasma membrane of a Schwann cell. What aspects of the cells in this image react with the stain to make them a deep, dark, black color, such as the multiple layers that are the myelin sheath?

Myelin sheaths can extend for one or two millimeters, depending on the diameter of the axon. Axon diameters can be as small as 1 to 20 micrometers. Because a micrometer is 1/1000 of a millimeter, this means that the length of a myelin sheath can be 100–1000 times the diameter of the axon. [link] , [link] , and [link] show the myelin sheath surrounding an axon segment, but are not to scale. If the myelin sheath were drawn to scale, the neuron would have to be immense—possibly covering an entire wall of the room in which you are sitting.

The process of myelination

This three-part diagram shows the process of myelination. In step A, the cell membrane of a cylindrical Schwann cell, which has a blue nucleus, has indented around an axon. An upper and lower lip of the cell membrane is visible where the membrane indents around the axon. In part B, the lower lip of the cell membrane dives under the upper lip and wraps around the axon. In part C, the process in part B has continued, forming many layers of myelin that wrap around the axon. The nucleus of the Schwann cell is still visible in the outermost layer, just to the left of the upper lip. The area of the axon next to the Schwann cell, which has no myelin, is labeled as a node of Ranvier.
Myelinating glia wrap several layers of cell membrane around the cell membrane of an axon segment. A single Schwann cell insulates a segment of a peripheral nerve, whereas in the CNS, an oligodendrocyte may provide insulation for a few separate axon segments. EM × 1,460,000. (Micrograph provided by the Regents of University of Michigan Medical School © 2012)

Disorders of the…

Nervous tissue

Several diseases can result from the demyelination of axons. The causes of these diseases are not the same; some have genetic causes, some are caused by pathogens, and others are the result of autoimmune disorders. Though the causes are varied, the results are largely similar. The myelin insulation of axons is compromised, making electrical signaling slower.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one such disease. It is an example of an autoimmune disease. The antibodies produced by lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell) mark myelin as something that should not be in the body. This causes inflammation and the destruction of the myelin in the central nervous system. As the insulation around the axons is destroyed by the disease, scarring becomes obvious. This is where the name of the disease comes from; sclerosis means hardening of tissue, which is what a scar is. Multiple scars are found in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord. The symptoms of MS include both somatic and autonomic deficits. Control of the musculature is compromised, as is control of organs such as the bladder.

Guillain-Barré (pronounced gee-YAN bah-RAY) syndrome is an example of a demyelinating disease of the peripheral nervous system. It is also the result of an autoimmune reaction, but the inflammation is in peripheral nerves. Sensory symptoms or motor deficits are common, and autonomic failures can lead to changes in the heart rhythm or a drop in blood pressure, especially when standing, which causes dizziness.

Chapter review

Nervous tissue contains two major cell types, neurons and glial cells. Neurons are the cells responsible for communication through electrical signals. Glial cells are supporting cells, maintaining the environment around the neurons.

Neurons are polarized cells, based on the flow of electrical signals along their membrane. Signals are received at the dendrites, are passed along the cell body, and propagate along the axon towards the target, which may be another neuron, muscle tissue, or a gland. Many axons are insulated by a lipid-rich substance called myelin. Specific types of glial cells provide this insulation.

Several types of glial cells are found in the nervous system, and they can be categorized by the anatomical division in which they are found. In the CNS, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, microglia, and ependymal cells are found. Astrocytes are important for maintaining the chemical environment around the neuron and are crucial for regulating the blood-brain barrier. Oligodendrocytes are the myelinating glia in the CNS. Microglia act as phagocytes and play a role in immune surveillance. Ependymal cells are responsible for filtering the blood to produce cerebrospinal fluid, which is a circulatory fluid that performs some of the functions of blood in the brain and spinal cord because of the BBB. In the PNS, satellite cells are supporting cells for the neurons, and Schwann cells insulate peripheral axons.

Visit this site to learn about how nervous tissue is composed of neurons and glial cells. The neurons are dynamic cells with the ability to make a vast number of connections and to respond incredibly quickly to stimuli and to initiate movements based on those stimuli. They are the focus of intense research as failures in physiology can lead to devastating illnesses. Why are neurons only found in animals? Based on what this article says about neuron function, why wouldn’t they be helpful for plants or microorganisms?

Neurons enable thought, perception, and movement. Plants do not move, so they do not need this type of tissue. Microorganisms are too small to have a nervous system. Many are single-celled, and therefore have organelles for perception and movement.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

View the University of Michigan WebScope at (External Link)& to see an electron micrograph of a cross-section of a myelinated nerve fiber. The axon contains microtubules and neurofilaments, bounded by a plasma membrane known as the axolemma. Outside the plasma membrane of the axon is the myelin sheath, which is composed of the tightly wrapped plasma membrane of a Schwann cell. What aspects of the cells in this image react with the stain that makes them the deep, dark, black color, such as the multiple layers that are the myelin sheath?

Lipid membranes, such as the cell membrane and organelle membranes.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

Questions & Answers

what happens to the unfertilized egg
Wuraola Reply
what are membranous epithelial tissues
Naa Reply
they are the lining and covering epithelial tissues which cover body surfaces and line cavities... they're grouped into simple and stratified according to the number of layers and squamous, cuboidal and columnar according to their shape
Ophelia
what is an acina
Nuella
acina is known to be the basic functional unit of the lungs .(singular:- acinus) this is where the alveoli(the gaseous exchange site) is found...
Fatukasi
what happens to the unfertilized egg
Wuraola
the study of tissues is called
Scandy Reply
histology
Sirius
microscopic or histology anatomy
Shan
What specific types of biological macromolecules do living things require and why?
Marieland Reply
what is partial pressure?
Tariq Reply
it is the pressure exerted by mixture of gases...
Fatukasi
What is the Important of studying anatomy and philosophy
Michael Reply
because to know the mechanisms of our body
Tariq
how many region do we have in human body
nsofor Reply
head thorax abdomen and many kind of...
Shan
what is principal ponatine nucleas
Tariq
Human body can be divided into different regions on the basis of: 1. Systems: e.g. digestive system, respiratory system, excretory system etc.. 2. Parts: e.g. head, thorax, neck, upper limbs, lower limbs etc..
AMEL
we have 9 region in d human body
ZAINAB
what is systematic anatomy?
nsofor Reply
it is the anatomy or study of a certain body system for example the digestive system. or respiratory system.
Summer
It is a group of structure that work together to perform a unique function..
RAPHERA
describe the division of anatomy and physiology
Vissa Reply
the what and the how
Josh
anatomy is the structure. physiology is the function.
Gavin
what is homeostasis?
nsofor
the balance if everything in your body
Kare
is the tendency of the body to maintain the internal environment
Flora
It is the ability of systems and living organisms to adjust its internal environment
RAPHERA
how does a saggital plane look like and a frontal plane
susan Reply
saggital plane divides left and right.. frontal plane divides front and back.. I'm trying to upload a picture but idk how.
Pipiena
tnx sis
Angella
The sagittal plane is a vertical plane that divides the body into left and right anteriorly whilst the frontal plane divides the body into the posterior(back) and anterior(front) parts. They're all perpendicular to the transverse plane.
Sirius
what is a neurones?
Angella Reply
how many systems are there in human
Angella
It is a cell that specialized to conduct nerve impulse
RAPHERA
What is ovulation
Joy Reply
Ovulation is release of mature ovum from ovary
AMEL
what is physiology
Firdaus Reply
The study of how e body systems or structures function and interrelate with each other
Prettygal
what is the composition of the ground substance?
Nana Reply
large carbohydrates and proteins which is known as acid mucopolysacchrides
adam
thanks👍
Nana
you guy welcome
adam
Hi guys am new here
Nji
how does the negative feedback helps in maintaining body temperature at its normal range
dzreke
I need good sites that I can test myself on chapters 1,3,4,5. I have an exam tomorrow
Ana
please can you kindly share your questions here after the exams please
dzreke
What causes the banding pattern seen in the muscle fibril under the electron microscope
Nji
what organelles controls protein synthesis?
Katie Reply
Ribosome
AMEL
hmm...the ribosomes?
Fatukasi
ribosome
adam
Ribosome
Opara
Ribosome
Saifkhan
ribosome
DR
ribosome
ELIZABETH
are ribisomes made in the rRNA?
Lola
nop they are produced by cells of Nucleolus
adam

Get the best Anatomy & Physiology course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Anatomy & Physiology' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask