To test the osmoregulatory rules of Schwann cell aldose reductase (AR) and myo-inositol, JS1 Schwann cells were grown under control and hyperosmotic conditions with and without excess glucose or galactose. JS1 cells cultured in control conditions possessed AR protein and activity that were not altered by the inclusion of 25 mM glucose or galactose. Following culture with 100 mM NaCl, there was a decline in cell number accompanied by an increase in AR activity, both of which were attenuated by the addition of 25 mM glucose or galactose. Sorbitol was not detected in JS1 Schwann cells following culture in control, glucose-supplemented, or hyperosmotic medium, and dulcitol accumulated only following culture with galactose. However, both polyols were dramatically increased in JS1 cells cultured in hyperosmotic medium supplemented with 25 mM glucose or galactose. In contrast, myo-inositol levels were elevated only during hyperosmotic exposure but decreased when glucose or galactose was also present. These data are consistent with the use of polyol formation by JS1 Schwann cells as a means of responding to osmotic stress.