Axonal Sprouting in Health and Disease
Axonal sprouting is a process where fine nerve processes – sprouts – grow out from the intact axons to reinnervate denervated muscle fibers. Thereby the sprouting sustains the nerve supply to muscles and, in turn, the ability to move.
Axon sprouting from intact motor units (a motoneuron and the muscle fibers that it supplies) commonly compensates for motoneuron loss in aging and/or in diseases such as poliomyelitis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and/or partial nerve injuries due to the loss of axonal contact and/or death of many of the motoneurons . The Schwann cells at the neuromuscular junction, the perisynaptic Schwann cells, play an essential role in leading the axon sprouts from intact axons to the denervated muscle fibers to reinnervate them at the neuromuscular junction. Excessive neuromuscular activity interferes with the normal role of the perisynaptic Schwann cells and thereby the enlargement of motor units (the inclusion of more muscle...
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