Spatiotemporal distribution and function of N-cadherin in postnatal Schwann cells: A matter of adhesion?

Mikael Corell, Grzegorz Wicher, Christoph Limbach, Manfred W Kilimann, David R Colman, Åsa Fex Svenningsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


During embryonic development of the peripheral nervous system (PNS), the adhesion molecule neuronal cadherin (N-cadherin) is expressed by Schwann cell precursors and associated with axonal growth cones. N-cadherin expression levels decrease as precursors differentiate into Schwann cells. In this study, we investigated the distribution of N-cadherin in the developing postnatal and adult rat peripheral nervous system. N-cadherin was found primarily in ensheathing glia throughout development, concentrated at neuron-glial or glial-glial contacts of the sciatic nerve, dorsal root ganglia (DRG), and myenteric plexi. In the sciatic nerve, N-cadherin decreases with age and progress of myelination. In adult animals, N-cadherin was found exclusively in nonmyelinating Schwann cells. The distribution of N-cadherin in developing E17 DRG primary cultures is similar to what was observed in vivo. Functional studies of N-cadherin in these cultures, using the antagonist peptide INPISGQ, show a disruption of the attachment between Schwann cells, but no interference in the initial or long-term contact between Schwann cells and axons. We suggest that N-cadherin acts primarily in the adhesion between glial cells during postnatal development. It may form adherents/junctions between nonmyelinating glia, which contribute to the stable tubular structure encapsulating thin caliber axons and thus stabilize the nerve structure as a whole.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neuroscience Research
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)2338-49
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cadherins
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • Ganglia, Spinal
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron
  • Myenteric Plexus
  • Neuroglia
  • Peripheral Nervous System
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Schwann Cells
  • Stellate Ganglion


Dive into the research topics of 'Spatiotemporal distribution and function of N-cadherin in postnatal Schwann cells: A matter of adhesion?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this