Schwann cell-derived factors support serotoninergic neuron survival and promote neurite outgrowth

  • R Pellitteri | PAGEPress Office, Pavia, Italy.
  • A Zicca
  • GL Mancardi
  • T Savio
  • A Cadoni


During embryogenesis and the postnatal period, neurons and glia interact in the development and differentiation of specific populations of nerve cells. Both in the peripheral (PNS) and in the central nervous system (CNS), glial cells have been shown in various experimental conditions to constitute a favorable substrate for neural adhesion, neural polarity, shape and axonal extension, while numerous soluble molecules secreted by neurons influence the survival and differentiation of the glial cells themselves. The aim of the present work was to investigate the influence of postnatal Schwann cells (SC) on embryonic serotoninergic (5-HT) neurons of the raphe, in order to study the possible influence of the peripheral glia on the CNS neurons. Cultures of SC from sciatic nerve of postnatal rats and neurons from rat embryonic rhombencephalon were successfully established and cells were immunocytochemically characterized. The number of 5-HT neurons, and the number and length of their branches were quantified in the cultures of 5-HT neurons, in cultures added with Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) and Insulin-like Growth Factor I (IGF-I), in co-cultures with SC and in cultures added with conditioned medium obtained from SC cultures. The results indicated that SC have the capacity to promote the survival and growth of 5-HT neurons in culture, and that this activity is mediated by soluble factors. Although the precise nature and mechanism of action of the growth factor or factors produced by SC in the presence of 5-HT neurons was not identified, our results add more data on the possible activity of the peripheral glia in promoting and enhancing the survival and outgrowth of the CNS neurons.



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How to Cite
Pellitteri, R., Zicca, A., Mancardi, G., Savio, T., & Cadoni, A. (2009). Schwann cell-derived factors support serotoninergic neuron survival and promote neurite outgrowth. European Journal of Histochemistry, 45(4), 367-76.