Schwann cells induce and guide sprouting and reinnervation of neuromuscular junctions

Trends Neurosci. 1996 Jul;19(7):280-5. doi: 10.1016/S0166-2236(96)10032-1.


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.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cell Communication / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Denervation
  • Neurites / physiology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / cytology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / surgery
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Schwann Cells / physiology*