Glial cells

Glial cells, or neuroglia, are cells that surround the neurons of the central nervous system embedded between them, providing both structural and physiological support .  Together they account for almost half of the total mass  and 90% of all cells of the central nervous system . These numbers are now contentious as a novel cell counting technique known as 'isotopic fractionation' has shown that the ratio between glial cells and neurons is actually one-to-one .

Glial cells are broadly divided into macroglia and microglia. Each cell type has specific distribution and function.

  • macroglia
  • astrocytes
  • oligodendrocytes
  • ependymal cells
  • microglia
  • History and etymology

    The term glia is from the Ancient Greek for "glue", as initially these cells were thought to merely act as supporting structures for neurons.