A myelinated axon is one which is surrounded by a myelin sheath, comprised of Schwann cells. It is electrically insulating, except for gaps in the sheath which are called the Nodes of Ranvier. This insulation increases the speed of transmission of action potentials. Due to the gaps in the myelin sheath, action potentials propagate by saltatory conduction, where action potentials jump between the nodes, where there is a higher abundance of ion channels. Conduction in myelinated axons is faster than transmission in an unmyelinated axon.
- ↑ Lodish, Laisser, Bretscher, Amon, Berk, Krieger, Ploegh, Scott (2012) , Molecular Cell Biology, 7th Edition, New York, WH Freeman