Macrophages Regulate Schwann Cell Maturation after Nerve Injury

Cell Rep. 2018 Sep 4;24(10):2561-2572.e6. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.08.004.


Pro-regenerative macrophages are well known for their role in promoting tissue repair; however, their specific roles in promoting regeneration of the injured nerve are not well defined. Specifically, how macrophages interact with Schwann cells following injury during remyelination has been largely unexplored. We demonstrate that after injury, including in humans, macrophages function to clear debris and persist within the nerve microenvironment. Macrophage ablation immediately preceding remyelination results in an increase in immature Schwann cell density, a reduction in remyelination, and long-term deficits in conduction velocity. Targeted RNA-seq of macrophages from injured nerve identified Gas6 as one of several candidate factors involved in regulating Schwann cell dynamics. Functional studies show that the absence of Gas6 within monocyte lineage cells impairs Schwann cell remyelination within the injured nerve. These results demonstrate a role for macrophages in regulating Schwann cell function during nerve regeneration and highlight a molecular mechanism by which this occurs.

Keywords: Schwann cell; macrophage; nerve injury; population-based RNA-seq; regeneration; remyelination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Cell Survival / physiology*
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism
  • Female
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology
  • Pregnancy
  • RNA Polymerase II / genetics
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Schwann Cells / cytology
  • Schwann Cells / metabolism


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA Polymerase II