- : A type of cell in the central nervous system. The oligodendrocytes surround and insulate the long fibers (the axons) through which the nerves send their electrical messages. The term "oligodendrocyte" comes from the fact that through a microscope the cell's projections looked like the sparse branches of a tree. The word is from the Greek "oligo-", few or scant + "dendron", tree + "-cyte", cell.
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* * *oli·go·den·dro·cyte -'den-drə-.sīt n a glial cell resembling an astrocyte but smaller with few and slender processes having few branches
* * *n.one of the cells of the glia, responsible for producing the myelin sheaths of the neurones of the central nervous system and therefore equivalent to the Schwann cells of the peripheral nerves.
* * *ol·i·go·den·dro·cyte (ol″ĭ-go-denґdro-sīt) [oligodendroglia + -cyte] a cell of the oligodendroglia.
Medical dictionary. 2011.