, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp 353–360 | Cite as

Differentiation and apoptosis without DNA fragmentation in cultured Schwann cells derived from wallerian-degenerated nerve

  • H. Hirata
  • H. Hibasami
  • T. Yoshida
  • A. Morita
  • S. Ohkaya
  • M. Matsumoto
  • H. Sasaki
  • A. Uchida


The Schwann cell cables provide particularly favorable sites for the growth of regenerating axonal sprouts. However, if they remain denervated, endoneurial fibrosis takes place with the Schwann cells atrophying and total Schwann cell number gradually decrease with time. Even when regenerating axonal sprouts invade into the cables, Schwann cells do not survive for long periods if they fail to make axonal contact. These observations strongly suggest the involvement of apoptosis in peripheral nerve degeneration and regeneration. So, we investigated the behavior of Schwann cells prepared from walleriandegenerated adult rat sciatic nerve in vitro. The secondary cultured Schwann cells showed serial changes in morphology, mitotic activity and migratory activity as they do during Schwann cell cable formation in vivo. At the final stage of differentiation, the Schwann cells became rounded and detached from the flask with extensive blebbing. Electron micrographs clearly demonstrated typical cytoplasmic changes of apoptosis, but, nuclei of most of the cells retained their size and morphology with residual nucleolar structures. An agarose gel electrophoresis of DNA clearly demonstrated that there was not any DNA fragmentation up to 120 h after detachment. Results by in situ apoptosis detection assay did not show any DNA degradation despite the substantial decrease in Schwann cell number. In conclusion, during peripheral nerve degeneration and regeneration, supernumerary Schwann cells are removed by apoptosis, however, it lacks most of the nuclear events of usual apoptosis.

Adult rats apoptosis without DNA fragmentation differentiation Schwann cells derived from wallerian-degenerated nerve 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Hirata
    • 1
  • H. Hibasami
    • 2
  • T. Yoshida
    • 3
  • A. Morita
    • 1
  • S. Ohkaya
    • 1
  • M. Matsumoto
    • 1
  • H. Sasaki
    • 1
  • A. Uchida
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Orthopedic Surgery, Faculty of MedicineMie UniversityTsu-city, MieJapan
  2. 2.Medical Sciences, Faculty of MedicineMie UniversityTsu-city, MieJapan
  3. 3.Pathology, Faculty of MedicineMie UniversityTsu-city, MieJapan

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