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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.

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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.

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Questions & Answers

what is the difference between a neuron and nerve?
Tonny Reply
Neurons are specialized cells which are capable of transmitting signals between different parts of the body. Nerve is a bundle of fibers composed of neurons. Therefore, neurons and nerves are closely related.
acquosuah
wow
Andy
what are the first aid procedures
Andy
what is a positive and negative feedback and give examples of both positive and negative feedback
esther Reply
Positive feedback is a feedback that tends to magnify its output. An example of positve feedback is the release of oxytocin from the pitutary gland during child birth. Negative feedback regulates a stimulus to cause a opposite effect. An example of this is when you eat your blood sugar rises,which
Camello
is sensed by the nervous system. specialized cells in the pancreas sense the increase and release the hormone insulin.
Camello
merci beaucoup
esther
what then is Pathological anatomy
acquosuah Reply
anatomy study about normal human organ... pathological anatomy study of diseased organ
Aswin
thanks
acquosuah
wow
Morshed
that's are good
Morshed
why oral glucose make insulin response in 1 phase but IV glucose make insulin response in 2 phase?
qwe Reply
what is anatomical position?
Kakande Reply
it's de description of any region or part of the body in specific strance
Andy
the standard anatomical position is standing straight with your hand an feet forward and the neck straight and face facing forward
Lubabah
how many cell do we have in our body
Sawmtei Reply
around 37.2 trillion
Jeremiah
how do you know when a women is lying
Hernandez
go with your gut
Stephanie
what is a positive and negative feedback and give examples of negative and positive feedback
esther Reply
messa I didn't understand this too
Shammy
and would love to know as well
Shammy
what are the various types of white blood cells
Andy Reply
what is cpr in first aid
Andy
various whiteblood cells includes Granulocytes (neutrophils,basophils ana eosinophils) and Agranulocytes (monocytes and lymphocytes)
Waziri
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (cpr) is an emergency procedure. Uses chest compressions with artificial ventilation in an effort to preserve brain function until further measures are taken to restore blood circulation and breathing in a person who is in cardiac arrest.
Jeremiah
wow thanks alot
Andy
respiration is not just taking in of oxygen and bringing out Co2. that is called INHALATION AND EXHALATION. BUT RESPIRATION IS THE BREAKDOWN OF LARGE MOLECULES OF GLUCOSE OR OTHER SUBSTRATES IN THE PRESENCE OF OXYGEN AND SUBSEQUENT REMOVAL OF WASTE PRODUCT
Osuji Reply
why study anatomy?
esther Reply
to know the detailed functioning of the internay body organs
Jam
we study anatomy to know about the structure of the organs which in turn help to study physiology which is the knowledge related to function of the vital organ,and when we know the normal functionality we can understand the abnormalities in that organ,and the study of disease is called pathology
Lubabah
why is it so hard to know the spelling and words
Sawmtei
they were made so that only the best and thr brightest would understand.
Senen
thank you
esther
to know the internal structure of the human body and how it function
Jaafar
whats antonmy
Jaan Reply
the study of structure and function of internal body parts
Jam
is a branch of biology which describes the structures of the body and relationship from one part to another
esther
I believe it is the scientific study of body structures that are both macro and micro.
acquosuah
wat the question is tis ! without knowing tis simple thing.. y didn't install tis app ..
Aswin
what is anatomy and physiology
mwitwa Reply
Anatomy is the study of structures of the body
Zunehri
Physiology the study functions of the body
Zunehri
anatomy is study of structure of body nd physiology is study of function of body.
PRIYANKA
anatomy is the study of internal body structures and physiology is the functioning of these structures in the body
Jam
what is lungs
Shipon Reply
it an organ found in our thoracic cavity
Richard
lungs are spongy organs where our respiration takesplace
Maryama
Lungs is a spongy organs located in the chest , is an a primary organs of respiration in human body and other Animals
Zunehri
lungs thorex me present hote hai ye organ hai and gas exchange (o2,co2 exchange)inka inka function hai.
PRIYANKA
lungs ka function hai
OM
pls am a student I don't know
Mavis
main function is respiration
faheem
respiration is the taking ing of oxygen by the body tissues and the removal of carbondioxide from the body tissues
Jam
what is heart beat,?
Naqeeb Reply
heart beat is the process briting
Mavis
what functions of heart
Muthu Reply
To circulate the blood
Arshad
it pump blood to the lungs
Laura
very twiest
Shipon

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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