The "terminal' Schwann cells that sit atop the neuromuscular junction sense neuromuscular transmission and respond to perturbations of this transmission by extending long processes. These processes have the ability to induce nerve growth and serve as substrates to guide this growth. These processes thus play major roles in muscle reinnervation and in sprouting. An absence of nerve sprouting is correlated with the apoptotic death of terminal Schwann cells at denervated endplates in neonatal muscles. Thus, Schwann cells appear to participate actively in the maintenance and repair of neuromuscular synapses.