Death of oligodendrocytes leads to axonal disintegration; as mentioned above oligodendroglia are particularly vulnerable to focal ischaemia. Strokes located in the white matter may therefore trigger particularly dangerous disruptions of nerve fibres and lead to severe functional disabilities (such as focal insults in the internal capsule). Microglial cells are also activated during brain ischaemia; their activation is associated with the release of numerous immunocompetent molecules, which can have either beneficial or detrimental effects. Profound activation of microglial cells may turn them into phagocytes; the latter can launch a direct attack on neural cells thus contributing to the expansion of the necrotic zone.
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