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Nature. 2010 Nov 11;468(7321):244-52. doi: 10.1038/nature09614.

Myelination and support of axonal integrity by glia.

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Department of Neurogenetics, Max Planck Institute of Experimental Medicine, Hermann-Rein-Strasse 3, 37075 Göttingen, Germany.


The myelination of axons by glial cells was the last major step in the evolution of cells in the vertebrate nervous system, and white-matter tracts are key to the architecture of the mammalian brain. Cell biology and mouse genetics have provided insight into axon-glia signalling and the molecular architecture of the myelin sheath. Glial cells that myelinate axons were found to have a dual role by also supporting the long-term integrity of those axons. This function may be independent of myelin itself. Myelin abnormalities cause a number of neurological diseases, and may also contribute to complex neuropsychiatric disorders.

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