Q:

What is the function of the myelin sheath?

A:

The function of the myelin sheath is to facilitate the conduction of electrical impulses through the nerve cells. The myelin sheath is made out of a modified plasma membrane that is wrapped around the nerve axon in a spiral pattern.

The myelin sheath is essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. When the myelin is damaged, nerve impulses slow down, and the nerve cell begins to wither. Diseases such as multiple sclerosis can result from damaged myelin sheaths. The sheath increases the electrical resistance of the cell by a factor of 5,000, which prevents the electrical current from leaving the axon of the nerve cell. The process of forming the myelin sheath is known as mylenization. The production of myelin begins during the 14th week of fetal development, but very little myelin is found in the brain at birth.

During infancy, mylenization occurs at a rapid rate and continues until adolescence. The myelin sheath is made up of lipids and proteins, and lipids account for 70 to 80 percent of the sheath's structure. Accordingly, it is important that infants receive greater amounts of fat in their diet than their adult counterparts. Myelin was originally discovered in 1854 by Rudolf Virchow, a German doctor.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    How many nerves do we have in our bodies?

    A:

    According to Neurogenetics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, the human body has 95 to 100 billion neurons or nerve cells. The brain alone has at least 85 billion of these cells, although estimates go as high as 1 trillion.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What are the neurons that carry impulses toward the spinal cord and brain?

    A:

    Sensory neurons are the nerve cells which carry information from outside stimuli to the central nervous system, which includes the spinal cord and brain. They are one of the three broad groups of neurons.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What do dendrites do?

    A:

    Dendrites are a part of the central nervous system that receive input from nerve cells, which are sometimes called. Multiple fibers called dendrites extend in a branchlike formation from the cell body of a neuron. When the postsynaptic terminals, or receptors, at the end of a dendrite receive neurotransmitters released by other neurons, an electric signal is transmitted through the dendrite to the cell body of the neuron.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is the function of nodes of Ranvier?

    A:

    The nodes of Ranvier allow an action potential to propagate quickly down an axon. The nodes of Ranvier are small gaps that are approximately 1 micrometer wide. These gaps form on axons between the myelin sheath.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore