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Pronunciation: ol'i-go-den-drog'le-a

Definition: One of the four types of glia cells (the other three being macroglia or astrocytes, ependymal cells, and microglia) that, together with nerve cells, compose the tissue of the central nervous system. Oligodendroglia cells are characterized by variable numbers of veillike or sheetlike processes that are each wrapped around individual axons to form the myelin sheath of nerve fibers in the central nervous system (compared with Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system); forms myelin in the central nervous system, and accordingly are more numerous in white matter than in gray matter.

Synonym(s): oligodendria

[oligo- + G. dendron, tree, + glia, glue]

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© Copyright 2018 Wolters Kluwer. All Rights Reserved. Review Date: Sep 19, 2016.