Schwann cells interact with each other, neurons and fibroblasts via highly motile peripheral lamellipodial waves.
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Peripheral lamellipodia in Schwann cells (SCs) are crucial for myelination of axons , however, the mechanisms by which these lamellipodia promote myelination remain unknown. Using high-speed, high-resolution time lapse imaging of fluorescently labeled cells, we have for the first time studied the dynamics of peripheral lamellipodia in SCs. We found that peripheral lamellipodia in SCs closely resembled the highly motile lamellipodial waves in olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) that our laboratory was the first to characterize . As previously shown for OECs, lamellipodial waves in SCs promoted cell migration (n = 49; p = 0. 0.005). We also found that the waves were involved in most cell-cell interactions between individual SCs, between SCs and neurons and also between SCs and fibroblasts. Approximately half (48 %) of the SC-SC interactions resulted in repulsion, while 35 % of interactions lead to cell-cell adhesion and the remaining ones resulted in no alteration in cell behaviour (n = 30). Initial contact between SCs and cultured DRG axons was mainly mediated by the leading edge of the SC (77 %) while the remaining interactions were mediated by peripheral lamellipodial waves (n = 15). For all SC-axon interactions studied, lamellipodial waves in the SCs continued to interact with axon spikes after initial contact was established. Thus, it can be speculated that peripheral lamellipodia in SCs prolong the interaction between SCs and axons, enabling myelination. Furthermore, it is possible that peripheral lamellipodial protrusions initiate the process by which SCs wrap themselves around axons, forming the myelin layer .  Nodari et al. JCB 177(6): 1063-75 (2007)  Windus et al. Glia 55 (16): 1708-19 (2007).
Proceedings of the 10th European Meeting on Glial Cells in Health and Disease
Central Nervous System
Peripheral Nervous System