Preparation of Neonatal Rat Schwann Cells and Embryonic Dorsal Root Ganglia Neurons for In Vitro Myelination Studies

  • Patrice MaurelEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1739)


The ability to understand in great details, at the molecular level, the process of myelination in the peripheral nervous system (PNS) is, in no minor part, due to the availability of an in vitro culture model of PNS myelination. This culture system is based on the ability to prepare large population of highly purified Schwann cells and dorsal root ganglia neurons that, once co-cultured, can be driven to form in vitro well-defined myelinated axon units. In this chapter, we present our detailed protocols to establish these cell cultures that are derived from modifications of procedures developed 35–40 years ago.

Key words

Rat Rodent Schwann cell DRG Dorsal root ganglia Neuron Co-culture Myelination 


  1. 1.
    Bunge MB, Williams AK, Wood PM (1982) Neuron-Schwann cell interaction in basal lamina formation. Dev Biol 92(2):449–460CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cornbrooks CJ, Carey DJ, McDonald JA, Timpl R, Bunge RP (1983) In vivo and in vitro observations on laminin production by Schwann cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 80(12):3850–3854CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Eldridge CF, Bunge MB, Bunge RP, Wood PM (1987) Differentiation of axon-related Schwann cells in vitro. I. Ascorbic acid regulates basal lamina assembly and myelin formation. J Cell Biol 105(2):1023–1034CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Moya F, Bunge MB, Bunge RP (1980) Schwann cells proliferate but fail to differentiate in defined medium. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 77(11):6902–6906CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Brockes JP, Fields KL, Raff MC (1979) Studies on cultured rat Schwann cells. I. Establishment of purified populations from cultures of peripheral nerve. Brain Res 165(1):105–118CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wood PM (1976) Separation of functional Schwann cells and neurons from normal peripheral nerve tissue. Brain Res 115(3):361–375CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Watkins TA, Emery B, Mulinyawe S, Barres BA (2008) Distinct stages of myelination regulated by gamma-secretase and astrocytes in a rapidly myelinating CNS coculture system. Neuron 60(4):555–569. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Barres BA (2008) The mystery and magic of glia: a perspective on their roles in health and disease. Neuron 60(3):430–440. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Brockes JP, Fields KL, Raff MC (1977) A surface antigenic marker for rat Schwann cells. Nature 266(5600):364–366CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesRutgers UniversityNewarkUSA

Personalised recommendations