A recent study showed that a large fraction of neocortical myelin ensheathes
axons of local inhibitory neurons .
For example, myelin (a substance that ensheathes
many of the axons in our bodies to speed up the electrical signal conduction) contains proteins that inhibit the growth of the axons following injury.
There is increasing evidence that, in addition to its insulating properties, myelin also provides metabolic support to axons, the wire-like nerve-cell extensions it ensheathes
. In MS, as myelin continually degrades, axons also degenerate, ultimately causing nerve cells to die off completely.
Like the insulation found on electrical wires, myelin is a fatty tissue that ensheathes
the connections between nerve cells and ensures the crisp transmission of signals from one cell to another.
A unique cell type that supports and surrounds (ensheathes
) neurons within the nose (olfactory system) known as olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs), that can be used for transplantation, can apparently repair a number of lesions in the central nervous system (CNS).
We talk a lot about proteins, but myelin--the substance that ensheathes
nerve fibers and is a main target of the attack--is primarily composed of lipids.