oligos = a little + dendron = tree + kytos = hollow vessel; a type of glial cell with few processes, responsible for making myelin sheaths in the central nervous system (del Hortega, 1921); cf. Schwann cell.
Specialized cell surrounding the nerve cells of the central nervous system (CNS) in vertebrates whose function is to myelinate CNS axons, the long process of nerve cell that carry outgoing information.
A type of neuroglia, that is, a particular type of cell that is part of the nervous system with supportive and metabolic functions rather than signal conduction, this type forms the myelin sheath around nerve fibers.
Oligodendrocytes (from Greek literally meaning few tree cells), or oligodendroglia (Greek, few tree glue),. are a variety of neuroglia. Their main function is the myelination of axons exclusively in the central nervous system of the higher vertebrates, a function performed by Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system. A single oligodendrocyte can extend to up to 50 axons, wrapping around approximately 1 mm of each and forming the myelin sheath.