Myelin incisure

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Myelin incisure
Diagram of longitudinal sections of medullated nerve fibers. (Incisure labeled at upper left.)
Gray's p.727
Code TH H2.
Anatomical terminology

In the peripheral nervous system (PNS) axons can be either myelinated or unmyelinated. Myelination means that the axon is insulated by surrounding layers of fatty membrane (myelin) produced by Schwann cells. These layers are continuous (like rolling up rope), but, due to the way they are formed, they often include small amounts of Schwann cell cytoplasm not displaced to the periphery during Schwann cell formation of the myelin. These are the so-called Myelin incisures or Schmidt-Lanterman clefts (a.k.a. Schmidt-Lanterman incisures, clefts of Schmidt-Lanterman, segments of Lanterman, medullary segments), which subdivide the myelinated axon into irregular portions. These staggered clefts provide communication channels through every layer by connecting the outer collar of cytoplasm of the Schwann cell to the deepest layer of myelin sheath.

They are histological evidence of the small amount of cytoplasm that remains in the inner layer of the myelin sheath created by Schwann cells wrapping tightly around a nerve.

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This article incorporates text from a public domain edition of Gray's Anatomy.