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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Histology Special Stains: Nervous Tissue. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Glial cells in a rat brain, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Histology of the Nervous System: Neuroglia

Neuroglia or glial cells are the "nerve glue" that provides a support network for the central nervous system and can be thought of as neural connective tissue.
Glial cells can be subclassified as:
  • Oligodendroglia: Primarily responsible for producing the myelin sheath surrounding axons in the central nervous system (CNS).
  • Astroglia (astrocytes): Primarily responsible for scar formation after injury.
  • Microglia: Phagocytic cells primarily responsible for the active immune defense of the CNS.
  • Ependymal cells: Cells that line the spinal canal.