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Myelin is not a single compound and is term used to describe the 'insulating' material formed by the cell membrane of Schwann cells (in peripheral nerves) or oligodendrocytes (in the central nervous system). It is composed of a mixture of lipids, proteins and lipoproteins with various modifications such as the addition of sugar moieties. Immunohistochemical staining usually targets myelin basic protein.

Conditions that appear to target the myelin component of the nervous system are known as demyelinating disorders.

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