Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Glial Cells/Neuroglia

This is another post for those of you trying to study the nervous system.


What are Glial cells and why are they important?

Glial cells also called neuroglia are non-neuronal cells that maintain homeostasis, form myelin and provide support and protection for the brain’s neurons.
There are two types:

Microglia – protect the neurons of the central nervous system. They are capable of phagocytosis (meaning they are phagocyte). They are found in all regions of the brain and spinal cords. Their main role is to multiply when the brain is damaged. 
 – contains 4 different types of cells from the central nervous system:
  1. astrocytes
  2. oligodendrocyts
  3. ependymal
  4. radial glia
-         contain 3 types of cells from the peripheral nervous system

- they have a very important role in the central nervous system
- are star shaped
- they are the most numerous cells in the central nervous system
- they can be found at the exterior of the brain and spinal cord
-they give biochemical support of endothelial cells that form the blood-brain barrier
-during brain damage or radiation they are the first affected cells

-         their main function is to form and maintain myelin

      Schwann Cells
-         they have a similar function to oligodentrocytes
-         their main function is to produce myelin
-         between two cells there is a gap which formes the node of Ranvier
-         their role is also to regenerate destroyed neurons (the broken part of the axon is destroyed and the one from the cell body forms a structure that will be the next axon)

     Satellite cells:
-surround neurons in sensory, sympathetic and parasympathetic ganglia

The main function of neuroglia or glial cell is to repair injuries of the central nervous system. Some will occupy the space left by injured neurons, like astrocytes while others will help repair the neuron, like oligodendrocytes. Schwann cells help the nerve regenerate. So you can see that all these cells have a very important role in neuronal organization. 


  1. hi andreea, you said the function of glial cells or neuroglia is to repair injuries to the central nervous system.
    that means these cells are extremely important to our brain neurons and our central nervous system.
    would you know how we can maintain and ensure that these glial cells are fit and very healthy. it bothers me if they are not :)thanks.

    by the way, i just published your Drob, many thanks for your willingness to do guest post for me.do visit, you may want to put a comment too. have a wonderful day.

  2. Hi Wan, sorry for publishing your post so late.I just noticed it was in moderation (apparently I accidentally chose the moderation option for my comments, don't know how that happened).
    I guess the most important way to keep your brain cells healthy is by using them. Fats are also important so eating a lot of healthy fats is good(like olive oil, fish and nuts). A diet rich in antioxidants will also helps and avoid taking any sleeping pills without prescription (or even abusing them if you have a prescription). I can't think about more right now but you gave me a great idea for an article :D thanks! :D

    PS: I was honored to do a guest post for you :D

  3. ok,thanks sa info.

  4. I do not even know how I ended up here, but I thought
    this post was good. I don't know who you are

    but definitely you're going to a famous blogger if you aren't already ;) Cheers!
    Feel free to visit my blog post ... wadis