Myelin: not just a conduit for conduction

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Most nerve axons of higher vertebrates are surrounded by a multilayered myelin membrane that is essential for promotion of rapid nerve conduction. A new study genetically uncouples the myelin-producing function of the myelinating cells from their role in axonal survival, suggesting that neurodegenerative disorders characterized by axonal loss might result from defects in the myelinating cells whether myelin irregularities are apparent or not.

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Popko, B. Myelin: not just a conduit for conduction. Nat Genet 33, 327–328 (2003) doi:10.1038/ng0303-327

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