NGF controls axonal receptivity to myelination by Schwann cells or oligodendrocytes

Neuron. 2004 Jul 22;43(2):183-91. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2004.06.024.


Axons dictate whether or not they will become myelinated in both the central and peripheral nervous systems by providing signals that direct the development of myelinating glia. Here we identify the neurotrophin nerve growth factor (NGF) as a potent regulator of the axonal signals that control myelination of TrkA-expressing dorsal root ganglion neurons (DRGs). Unexpectedly, these NGF-regulated axonal signals have opposite effects on peripheral and central myelination, promoting myelination by Schwann cells but reducing myelination by oligodendrocytes. These findings indicate a novel role for growth factors in regulating the receptivity of axons to myelination and reveal that different axonal signals control central and peripheral myelination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • Coculture Techniques
  • Ganglia, Spinal / metabolism
  • Ganglia, Spinal / physiology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / ultrastructure
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology*
  • Nerve Growth Factor / physiology*
  • Oligodendroglia / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptor, Nerve Growth Factor / physiology
  • Receptor, trkA*
  • Schwann Cells / physiology*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptor, Nerve Growth Factor
  • Nerve Growth Factor
  • Receptor, trkA