Telocytes in the Normal and Pathological Peripheral Nervous System

Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jun 17;21(12):4320. doi: 10.3390/ijms21124320.


We studied telocytes/CD34+ stromal cells in the normal and pathological peripheral nervous system (PNS), for which we reviewed the literature and contributed our observations under light and electron microscopy in this field. We consider the following aspects: (A) general characteristics of telocytes and the terminology used for these cells (e.g., endoneurial stromal cells) in PNS; (B) the presence, characteristics and arrangement of telocytes in the normal PNS, including (i) nerve epi-perineurium and endoneurium (e.g., telopodes extending into the endoneurial space); (ii) sensory nerve endings (e.g., Meissner and Pacinian corpuscles, and neuromuscular spindles); (iii) ganglia; and (iv) the intestinal autonomic nervous system; (C) the telocytes in the pathologic PNS, encompassing (i) hyperplastic neurogenic processes (neurogenic hyperplasia of the appendix and gallbladder), highly demonstrative of telocyte characteristics and relations, (ii) PNS tumours, such as neurofibroma, schwannoma, granular cell tumour and nerve sheath myxoma, and interstitial cell of Cajal-related gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST), (iii) tumour-invaded nerves and (iv) traumatic, metabolic, degenerative or genetic neuropathies, in which there are fewer studies on telocytes, e.g., neuroinflammation and nerves in undescended testicles (cryptorchidism), Klinefelter syndrome, crush injury, mucopolysaccharidosis II (Hunter's syndrome) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

Keywords: Meissner corpuscles; appendicular neurogenic hyperplasia; gallbladder neurogenic hyperplasia; nerves; peripheral nervous system tumours; telocytes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Disease Susceptibility*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Nerve Endings / metabolism
  • Peripheral Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Peripheral Nervous System / pathology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / etiology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / metabolism*
  • Telocytes / metabolism*
  • Telocytes / ultrastructure


  • Biomarkers