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Front Mol Neurosci. 2017 Feb 17;10:38. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2017.00038. eCollection 2017.

Molecular Mechanisms Involved in Schwann Cell Plasticity.

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GIGA-Neurosciences, University of Liège Liège, Belgium.
GIGA-Molecular Biology of Diseases, University of LiègeLiège, Belgium; Walloon Excellence in Lifesciences and Biotechnology (WELBIO)Wavre, Belgium.


Schwann cell incredible plasticity is a hallmark of the utmost importance following nerve damage or in demyelinating neuropathies. After injury, Schwann cells undergo dedifferentiation before redifferentiating to promote nerve regeneration and complete functional recovery. This review updates and discusses the molecular mechanisms involved in the negative regulation of myelination as well as in the reprogramming of Schwann cells taking place early following nerve lesion to support repair. Significant advance has been made on signaling pathways and molecular components that regulate SC regenerative properties. These include for instance transcriptional regulators such as c-Jun or Notch, the MAPK and the Nrg1/ErbB2/3 pathways. This comprehensive overview ends with some therapeutical applications targeting factors that control Schwann cell plasticity and highlights the need to carefully modulate and balance this capacity to drive nerve repair.


Schwann cell; molecular mechanisms; nerve injury; peripheral neuropathy; plasticity

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