Glial cells: Neuroglia

Helmut Kettenmann, Alex Verkhratsky

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    In the human brain glial cells are as abundant as neurons. The relative number of glial cells has increased with increasing complexity of brains during evolution. In vertebrates three types of glial cells can be distinguished in the central nervous system, namely astrocytes, oligodendrocytes and microglia. In the peripheral nervous system the Schwann cell is the only glial cell type. Astrocytes are a heterogeneous cell population, are most abundant and fulfill different tasks such as providing guiding structures during development, controlling homeostasis of the extracellular space, providing energy substrate for neurons, controlling blood flow and modulating synaptic transmission. Oligodendrocytes in the central and Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system form myelin and thereby enable a high conduction velocity within the axons. Microglial cells are the immune competent cells of the brain and are activated during any pathologic process. The activated microglial cells can release many factors which influence the pathologic process. Taken together brain function is only possible by a concerted action of neurons and glial cells.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNeuroscience in the 21st Century
    Subtitle of host publicationFrom Basic to Clinical
    EditorsDonald W. Pfaff, Nora D. Volkow
    PublisherSpringer Nature
    Number of pages32
    ISBN (Electronic)9781493934744
    ISBN (Print)9781493934737
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016


    • Antigen presentation
    • Astrocytes
    • Astroglia
    • Bergmann glia
    • Fibrous astrocytes
    • Glial syncytia
    • Gliotransmission
    • Microglia
    • Myelin sheaths
    • Myelin sheets
    • Myelinating cells and diseases
    • Müller cells
    • Neuroglia
    • Neuronalglial signaling
    • Oligodendrocytes
    • Phagocytosis
    • Protoplasmic astrocytes
    • Radial glial cells
    • Saltatory conduction and myelin
    • Schwann cells
    • Tripartite synapse


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