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Oligodendrocyte precursor cell

Oligodendrocyte precursor cells in nervous tissue cells precede oligodendrocytes, and may also be able to generate neurons and astrocytes. The principal function of oligodendrocytes is to provide support to axons and to produce the Myelin sheath, which insulates and lowers the effective capacitance of axons. Myelin is 80% lipid and 20% protein and speeds the conduction of action potentials down the axon. Oligodendrocytes, unlike Schwann cells of the PNS, form segments of myelin sheaths of numerous neurons at once. The processes of a given oligodendrocyte wrap themselves around portions of the surrounding axons. As each process wraps itself around, it forms layers of myelin. Each process thus becomes a segment of the axon's myelin sheath.

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