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Arq Neuropsiquiatr. 1988 Sep;46(3):292-7.

[Myelination, demyelination and re-myelination in the central nervous system].

[Article in Portuguese]

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Departamento de Patologia, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Brasil.


The myelin sheaths that surround axons in the CNS are made and maintained by oligodendrocytes. These glial cells can form variable numbers of myelin segments (internodules): from 1 to 200 so that when one oligodendrocyte is destroyed with preservation of the axon, many internodules can be lost, constituting a demyelinating process. As a consequence of the destruction of myelin and sheath cells a rapid and abundant cell response takes place. The response is made up by resident (microglia) and haematogenous phagocytes which phagocytose myelin and cellular debris leaving the axons demyelinated. Demyelinated axons may either stay demyelinated and clumped together or they may be separated by astrocytic processes, yet they can be remyelinated. The occurrence of remyelination depends upon the intensity and time of exposition to the demyelinating agent. Remyelination in the CNS with complete restoration of conduction may be made by oligodendrocytes or Schwann cells which invade the CNS when astrocytes are destroyed.

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