Neuronal glia interactions at the vertebrate neuromuscular junction

Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2007 Jun;7(3):316-24. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2006.12.003. Epub 2007 Mar 30.


Emerging studies demonstrate that perisynaptic Schwann cells (PSCs), which are the glia cells juxtaposed to the motor nerve terminal, actively participate in multiple aspects of the neuromuscular junction. During development, PSCs guide and promote synaptic growth. In adult muscles, PSCs can sense nerve stimulation by increasing intracellular calcium and are also capable of modulating transmitter release. Although adult PSCs are not required for acute synaptic maintenance and function, they are indispensable for long-term synaptic maintenance. Furthermore, PSC sprouts lead nerve terminal extension during synaptic remodeling. After nerve injury, PSCs sprout profusely and PSC processes guide regenerating nerve terminals. Future challenges will be to identify the molecular mechanisms by which PSCs interact with the nerve terminal and the muscle fiber.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Neuromuscular Junction / physiology*
  • Schwann Cells / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission