Glial cells

A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Glial cells, or neuroglia, are cells that surround the neurones of the central nervous system embedded between them, providing both structural and physiological support 1-3.  Together they account for almost half of the total mass 1 and 90% of all cells of the central nervous system 3.

Glial cells are broadly divided into macroglia and microglia. Each cell type has specific distribution and function. 

  1. macroglia
    1. astrocytes
    2. oligodendrocytes
    3. ependymal cells
  2. microglia

History and etymology

The term glia is from the ancient greek for "glue", as initially these cells were thought to merely act as supporting structures for neurones

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Article information

rID: 51711
Section: Pathology
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Neuroglia

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