Schwann cell extracellular matrix molecules and their receptors

Histol Histopathol. 2000 Apr;15(2):593-601. doi: 10.14670/HH-15.593.


The major cellular constituents of the mammalian peripheral nervous system are neurons (axons) and Schwann cells. During peripheral nerve development Schwann cells actively deposit extracellular matrix (ECM), comprised of basal lamina sheets that surround individual axon-Schwann cell units and collagen fibrils. These ECM structures are formed from a diverse set of macromolecules, consisting of glyco-proteins, collagens and proteoglycans. To interact with ECM, Schwann cells express a number of integrin and non-integrin cell surface receptors. The expression of many Schwann cell ECM proteins and their receptors is developmentally regulated and, in some cases, dependent on axonal contact. Schwann cell ECM acts as an organizer of peripheral nerve tissue and strongly influences Schwann cell adhesion, growth and differentiation and regulates axonal growth during development and regeneration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology*
  • Schwann Cells / metabolism
  • Schwann Cells / physiology*


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Receptors, Cell Surface