Laminins in peripheral nerve development and muscular dystrophy

Mol Neurobiol. 2007 Jun;35(3):288-97. doi: 10.1007/s12035-007-0026-x.


Laminins are extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins that play an important role in cellular function and tissue morphogenesis. In the peripheral nervous system (PNS), laminins are expressed in Schwann cells and participate in their development. Mutations in laminin subunits expressed in the PNS and in skeleton muscle may cause peripheral neuropathies and muscular dystrophy in both humans and mice. Recent studies using gene knockout technology, such as cell-type specific gene targeting techniques, revealed that laminins and their receptors mediate Schwann cell and axon interactions. Schwann cells with disrupted laminin expression exhibit impaired proliferation and differentiation and also undergo apoptosis. In this review, we focus on the potential molecular mechanisms by which laminins participate in the development of Schwann cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Survival
  • Humans
  • Laminin / genetics
  • Laminin / metabolism*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / metabolism*
  • Muscular Dystrophies / pathology
  • Peripheral Nerves / growth & development*
  • Peripheral Nerves / pathology
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • Protein Isoforms / metabolism*
  • Schwann Cells / cytology
  • Schwann Cells / physiology*


  • Laminin
  • Protein Isoforms