Axon–Schwann cell interactions during peripheral nerve degeneration and regeneration

Steven S. Scherer and James L. Salzer

in Glial Cell Development

Published in print November 1997 | ISBN: 9781872748542
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191724367 | DOI:

Series: The Molecular and Cellular Neurobiology Series

Axon–Schwann cell interactions during peripheral nerve degeneration and regeneration

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Following peripheral nerve injury, the distal nerve stump undergoes a series of dramatic changes collectively referred to as Wallerian degeneration. These include degeneration of axons and myelin sheaths, proliferation and dedifferentiation of Schwann cells, infiltration of macrophages, and clearance of degenerating myelin and axons. Together these changes create an environment that facilitates axonal regeneration. Schwann cells provide a particularly effective substrate for axonal regeneration owing to the changes in their phenotype following axotomy, as they decrease their expression of myelin-related proteins and increase their expression of cell adhesion molecules and a number of neurotrophic factors and cytokines. Axons regenerate to and through the distal nerve stump, growing on and guided by Schwann cells and their basal lamina. As axons regenerate, axon-Schwann cell interactions are renewed, leading to remyelination and restoration of the physiologic function of the nerve fibre.

Keywords: Schwann cells; axons; peripheral nerve injury; axonal regeneration; Wallerian degeneration

Chapter.  14658 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuroscience

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