Activity stimulates production of neural insulation
Nerve cell communication gets better with use. A neuron’s electrical activity triggers other cells to come and slather on a protective coating that makes messages travel faster, a study published online August 4 in Science shows.
Like rubber insulation around electrical wires, myelin wraps around message-sending axons, protecting and speeding electrical impulses. Specialized brain cells called oligodendrocytes wrap up to 150 layers of this insulation around a single axon. In this image, a single oligodendrocyte (green) wraps several axons (purple).