Purification and expansion of human Schwann cells in vitro

Nat Med. 1995 Jan;1(1):80-3. doi: 10.1038/nm0195-80.


The ability to culture cells from the human nervous system provides new insight into the pathophysiology of neurological diseases and could be crucial to the development of gene replacement therapies and neural transplantation. We report that the proliferation of human Schwann cells isolated from paediatric and adult nerves is sustained in vitro by recombinant glial growth factor. Agents that increase intracellular cyclic cAMP were also mitogenic towards Schwann cells but suppress growth of contaminating fibroblasts. As the lifespan of highly enriched cultures can be extended for up to twelve population doublings, large numbers of cells can be generated from nerve biopsies.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cell Division
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology
  • Fibroblasts / cytology
  • Glycoproteins / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Neuregulins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Schwann Cells / cytology*


  • Glycoproteins
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Neuregulins
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Cyclic AMP