Axo-glial interaction in the injured PNS

Dev Neurobiol. 2021 Jul;81(5):490-506. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22771. Epub 2020 Jul 22.


Axons share a close relationship with Schwann cells, their glial partners in peripheral nerves. An intricate axo-glia network of signals and bioactive molecules regulates the major aspects of nerve development and normal functioning of the peripheral nervous system. Disruptions to these complex axo-glial interactions can have serious neurological consequences, as typically seen in injured nerves. Recent studies in inherited neuropathies have demonstrated that damage to one of the partners in this symbiotic unit ultimately leads to impairment of the other partner, emphasizing the bidirectional influence of axon to glia and glia to axon signaling in these diseases. After physical trauma to nerves, dramatic alterations in the architecture and signaling environment of peripheral nerves take place. Here, axons and Schwann cells respond adaptively to these perturbations and change the nature of their reciprocal interactions, thereby driving the remodeling and regeneration of peripheral nerves. In this review, we focus on the nature and importance of axon-glia interactions in injured nerves, both for the reshaping and repair of nerves after trauma, and in driving pathology in inherited peripheral neuropathies.

Keywords: Schwann cell; axon; axon-glia interactions; nerve injury; peripheral neuropathies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Axons / physiology
  • Humans
  • Nerve Regeneration
  • Neuroglia / physiology
  • Peripheral Nervous System
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases*
  • Schwann Cells / physiology