What are glial Cells? Different types of glial cells and its functions.

Neuroglial Cells types and Functions.

What are glial cells?

Glial cells or glial cells or neuroglia, are cell which are non-neuronal and are situated within the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

Glia means “neural glue” were thought to be involved in providing just structural support. Recent studies revealed that these non-neuronal cells play a major role in proper functioning of the brain.

Difference between Neuron and glial cells

Glial cells are present in both central nervous system (CNS) and Peripheral nervous system (PNS).

Neuroglial Cell types and basic function

Glial cells in central nervous system (CNS)

Astrocytes (Astroglia): star-shaped cells that maintains neurons working environment


  • providing nutrients to the neurons
  • control the blood flow in the brain; act as vaso-modulators.
  • controlling the levels of neurotransmitter around synapses
  • controlling the concentrations of ions like potassium
  • formation and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier
  • axon synchronization 
  • providing metabolic and structural support


mean "cells with several branches."


  • Provide protective insulation (myelin sheath) to neurons in the central nervous system.
  • Support the axons of neurons for faster information transfer in the CNS, mainly those that travel long distances within the brain.


Microglia are small glial cells that acts as brain’s immune cells.


  • They act as the brain's own dedicated immune system
  • Remove dead neurons and pathogens by phagocytosis
  • Protects brains against injury and disease
  • Involved in synaptic ‘pruning’ process by eating up tagged unwanted synapses

Ependymal cells

Cells that forms the ependyma, the thin membrane lining of the spinal cord and ventricles of the brain.


  • line the spinal cord and ventricles of the brain.
  • involved in the formation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
  • formation and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier

Radial glia:

Radial glial cells are progenitor cells or a type of stem cell that can generate neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes.

Glial cells in Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

Schwann cells: Cells that myelinate neuron in the peripheral nervous system, similar to oligodendrocytes in CNS.

Satellite cells: Cells that surround neurons in the sensory, sympathetic and parasympathetic ganglia.


  • Helps to regulate the chemical environment.
  • Cells may contribute to chronic pain.
  • detect and respond to injury and inflammation.
  • Helps to transport several neurotransmitters  

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