Satellite Cells

The neuronal cell bodies of ganglia are surrounded by a layer of small cuboidal cells called satellite cells. Although they form a complete layer around the cell body, only their nuclei are typically visible in routine H&E preparations (Fig. 11.17, a and b). In paravertebral and peripheral ganglia, neural cell processes must penetrate between the satellite cells to establish a synapse (there are no synapses in sensory ganglia). They help to establish and maintain a controlled microenvironment around the neuronal body in the ganglion, providing electrical insulation as well as a pathway for metabolic exchanges. Thus, in its functional role the satellite cell is analogous to the Schwann cell except that it does not make myelin.

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