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Glia. 1991;4(6):541-58.

Functions and distribution of voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels in mammalian Schwann cells.

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Department of Neurophysiology, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


Recent patch-clamp studies on freshly isolated mammalian Schwann cells suggest that voltage-gated sodium and potassium channels, first demonstrated in cells under culture conditions, are present in vivo. The expression of these channels, at least at the cell body region, appears to be dependent on the myelinogenic and proliferative states of the Schwann cell. Specifically, myelin elaboration is accompanied by a down regulation of functional potassium channel density at the cell body. One possibility to account for this is a progressive regionalization of ion channels on a Schwann cell during myelin formation. In adult myelinating Schwann cells, voltage-gated potassium channels appear to be localized at the paranodal region. Theoretical calculations have been made of activity-dependent potassium accumulations in various compartments of a mature myelinated nerve fibre; the largest potassium accumulation occurs not at the nodal gap but rather at the adjacent 2-4 microns length of periaxonal space at the paranodal junction. Schwann cell potassium channels at the paranode may contribute to ionic regulation during nerve activities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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