The role of glial cells in axon guidance, fasciculation and targeting

Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;621:156-66. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-76715-4_12.


Axons navigate step-wise, from one intermediate target to the next, until they reach their final destination target. In the central nervous system, intermediate targets are often glial cells, and final targeting is also aided by glia. In the peripheral nervous system, however, glial cells most often follow axons, which therefore navigate following other, nonglial clues. Even in the central nervous system, interactions between axons and glia are dynamic and reciprocal, as the neurons regulate migration, survival and proliferation of the glia cells they need for guidance. We review here the experimental evidence investigating roles of glia in axon guidance. Some molecules are known to influence either the neurons or the glia, but the molecular mechanisms underlying axon-glia interactions during pathfinding are only beginning to emerge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / physiology*