About this Research Topic
In the peripheral nervous system, Schwann cells (SCs) are the main type of glial cells that envelop axons of motor and sensory neurons to form the insulating myelin sheath. They provide vital trophic support to the neurons they warp around. Schwann cell precursors (SCPs) arise from neural crest progenitor cells. In a well-defined sequence of events, involving the formation of the SCP and immature Schwann cells (iSCs), they become mature myelinating or non-myelinating SCs.
Embryonic Dissociated Dorsal Root Ganglia (DRG) cultures are often used as a model to investigate the role of new molecular pathways or therapeutic targets in SC development and myelination. However, the exact timing of SC transitions through development (from SCP to iSC to myelinating SC) is still not fully elucidated. Primarily cultured SCs are also key to investigate the molecular mechanisms regulating proliferation, differentiation, survival, and myelination of SC to develop effective transplantation protocols to use SC as therapy for peripheral neuropathies. However, a better understanding of these mechanisms is needed to enable the development of cell therapy products using SCs. At the clinical level, the benefits of transplanting cultured SCs for the treatment of spinal cord injury (SCI) have been investigated in animal models over two decades. More recently, human SC (hSC) transplantation for SCI has significantly advanced via clinical trials, however, we still need to deepen our knowledge and interpretation of the clinical studies to provide effective treatments for SCI patients and to discuss areas for future development.
This Research Topic aims to bring together a set of articles (original research article, reviews, perspective, etc.) to uncover gaps in our current knowledge of SC development and myelination and their therapeutic value.
Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:
- Molecular mechanisms underlying Schwann cell development and myelination
- Schwann cell transplantation and therapeutic value of hSC transplants
- Schwann cells as a therapeutic target for peripheral neuropathies
Keywords: Schwann cells (SCs), immature Schwann cells (iSCs), myelinating and non-myelinating SCs, spinal cord injury, Embryonic Dissociated Dorsal Root Ganglia, human Schwann cells transplantation, peripheral neuropathies
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