noun, plural: Schwann cells
A glial cell that wraps around the nerve fiber in the peripheral nervous system, and forms the myelin sheaths of peripheral axons.
Schwann cells form a fatty material called myelin to insulate the axons in the peripheral nervous system. This method decreases membrane capacitance in the axon, thus, allowing saltatory conduction. Non -myelinating Schwann cells are involved in maintenance of axons and are crucial for neuronal survival.
Word origin: Named after Theodor Schwann who was first to describe it.
Synonym: neurilemma cell, neurolemmocyte.
See also: myelin, glial cell, peripheral nervous system.