Schwann cells interact with glial cells and neurons via motile lamellipodial waves
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Implantation of olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) or Schwann cells (SCs) into damaged CNS tracts have led to axonal regeneration but the results are not optimal and the favorable glial type may vary depending on the site of injury. Therefore it is crucial to determine how these glial cells interact with neurons so that treatments can be optimised. We have previously shown that OECs display highly motile peripheral membrane protrusions termed lamellipodial waves, which mediate OEC-OEC contacts as well as OEC-axon contacts. Using time lapse imaging of fluorescently labeled cells, we now have investigated the presence of dynamic lamellipodial waves in SCs. The waves were similar to those in OECs in terms of number of waves/cell and wave area but travelled ~2-fold faster. The number of waves and wave area of SCs correlated positively with whole-cell migration rate. Both OECs and SCs interacted directly with DRG axons via lamellipodial waves and selectively migrated along DRG axons rather than on the surrounding substrate. Contact with axons increased the migration rate of glial cells ~2-fold. Finally, both SCs and OECs significantly promoted survival of DRG neurons with survival after 3 days in a nutrient-free medium increasing from 40 % to 67 % by SCs and to 77 % by OECs. In summary, we have demonstrated that SCs exhibit lamellipodial waves, and that contact with axons leads to increased wave activity and increased migration. Both OECs and SCs promoted neuronal survival, suggesting that transplantation of both SCs and OECs may promote regeneration of damaged sensory neurons.
Proceedings of the OzBio 2010 conference
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Central Nervous System
Peripheral Nervous System