• Santiago Ramón y Cajal


The neuroglial or aracniform cells (because of their spider-like appearance), also called cells of Deiters in honor of their discoverer, form the framework and support for the nervous tissue of the centers. This framework, on the one hand, separates dendrites and axonic fine fibers that should not be in functional contact, and on the other, protects and supports the capillary vessels.


White Matter Neuroglial Cell Gray Matter Molecular Layer Amacrine Cell 


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  1. 1.
    On dealing with the neuroglia of the cerebral cortex, this author states: “The neuroglial cells designated as protoplasmic, that Golgi, Ranvier, Lloyd, Andriezen and Retzius have observed in the cortical gray matter, can not be visualized with my method. If such protoplasmic elements were of mesodermic origin, as wished by Andriezen, i.e. different from the legitimate astrocytes or neuroglial cells of the white matter that derive from the ectoderm, it would result in a radical separation between both cellular types, from which only the latter would deserve the designation of neuroglia”.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lenhossék (1896a) showed in the retina of cephalopodes (visual lobule) the existence of epithelial cells which emit branches exclusively distributed in the plexiform layers, i.e. where it is necessary to separate numerous neural plexi to prevent unwanted contacts. This finding is against the theory of filling-in and support; since if the role of the neuroglia were to occupy empty spaces, it would be incomprehensible why its filaments are not present also between somata of the various retinal nerve cells in cephalopodes. Because of this, Lenhossék is now in favor of my brother’s theory, and has abandoned that of Weigert.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    The above considerations on the function of neuroglia are taken from our work: Algo sobre la significación fisiológica de la neuroglia (Cajal, 1897c).Google Scholar


  1. a.
    Fig. 79.—a, b, c, d, e, different morphologies of comet-shaped cells. See text for descriptions.Google Scholar
  2. b.
    Fig. 80.—d, long processes of stellate cells reaching the molecular layer; e, tangential neuroglial cell.Google Scholar
  3. c.
    Fig. 81.—A, B, shaded profiles of cortical neurons.Google Scholar
  4. d.
    Fig. 82.—b, nuclei of neuroglial cells; c, probably basket and/or stellate neurons.Google Scholar
  5. e.
    Epithelial cells are Cajal’s designations for ependymal cells, and also for apparently equivalent cells in the retina (Müller’s fibers) and olfactory mucosa (supporting cells).Google Scholar

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© Springer-Verlag Wien 1999

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  • Santiago Ramón y Cajal

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