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      Myelination of the nervous system: mechanisms and functions.

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          Abstract

          Myelination of axons in the nervous system of vertebrates enables fast, saltatory impulse propagation, one of the best-understood concepts in neurophysiology. However, it took a long while to recognize the mechanistic complexity both of myelination by oligodendrocytes and Schwann cells and of their cellular interactions. In this review, we highlight recent advances in our understanding of myelin biogenesis, its lifelong plasticity, and the reciprocal interactions of myelinating glia with the axons they ensheath. In the central nervous system, myelination is also stimulated by axonal activity and astrocytes, whereas myelin clearance involves microglia/macrophages. Once myelinated, the long-term integrity of axons depends on glial supply of metabolites and neurotrophic factors. The relevance of this axoglial symbiosis is illustrated in normal brain aging and human myelin diseases, which can be studied in corresponding mouse models. Thus, myelinating cells serve a key role in preserving the connectivity and functions of a healthy nervous system.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          Annu. Rev. Cell Dev. Biol.
          Annual review of cell and developmental biology
          1530-8995
          1081-0706
          2014
          : 30
          Affiliations
          [1 ] Department of Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, D-37075 Göttingen, Germany; email: nave@em.mpg.de , hauke@em.mpg.de.
          Article
          10.1146/annurev-cellbio-100913-013101
          25288117
          97964915-66a7-4519-9bbd-c05f88520031
          History

          Schwann cell,axoglial signaling,brain energy metabolism,myelin sheath,neural plasticity,oligodendrocyte

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