Axonal Signals and Central Nervous System Myelination

  • C. Lubetzki
  • B. Zalc
Part of the Topics in Neuroscience book series (TOPNEURO)


Myelination is a fascinating model of cell-cell interactions, in which the process of a myelinating cell wraps around an axon to form the insulating myelin sheath, allowing the establishment of saltatory conduction of action potentials along the axon. Myelination is achieved by Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system, whereas in the central nervous system the myelinating cells are oligodendrocytes. While a myelinating Schwann cell forms a myelin sheath around a single axonal segment, an oligodendrocyte is able, in the optic nerve for instance, to myelinate up to 50 axons. On each axon, a myelin-forming cell myelinates only a segment of axon (internode) between two nodes of Ranvier. This close interaction between the axons and the myelin-forming cells suggests the existence of reciprocal signaling between the oligodendrocytes (or the Schwann cells) and the axons to be myelinated.


Multiple Sclerosis Optic Nerve Schwann Cell Polysialic Acid Myelinating Cell 
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© Springer-Verlag Italia 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Lubetzki
  • B. Zalc

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