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Front Cell Neurosci. 2013 Nov 25;7:228. doi: 10.3389/fncel.2013.00228. eCollection 2013.

Neuronal activity in the hub of extrasynaptic Schwann cell-axon interactions.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of Lausanne Lausanne, Switzerland.


The integrity and function of neurons depend on their continuous interactions with glial cells. In the peripheral nervous system glial functions are exerted by Schwann cells (SCs). SCs sense synaptic and extrasynaptic manifestations of action potential propagation and adapt their physiology to support neuronal activity. We review here existing literature data on extrasynaptic bidirectional axon-SC communication, focusing particularly on neuronal activity implications. To shed light on underlying mechanisms, we conduct a thorough analysis of microarray data from SC-rich mouse sciatic nerve at different developmental stages and in neuropathic models. We identify molecules that are potentially involved in SC detection of neuronal activity signals inducing subsequent glial responses. We further suggest that alterations in the activity-dependent axon-SC crosstalk impact on peripheral neuropathies. Together with previously reported data, these observations open new perspectives for deciphering glial mechanisms of neuronal function support.


Schwann cell; axon-glia interaction; microarray; neuronal activity; neuronal support; peripheral nervous system

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