Neuron-glia interactions: The roles of Schwann cells in neuromuscular synapse formation and function

Yoshie Sugiura, Weichun Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The NMJ (neuromuscular junction) serves as the ultimate output of the motor neurons. The NMJ is composed of a presynaptic nerve terminal, a postsynaptic muscle and perisynaptic glial cells. Emerging evidence has also demonstrated an existence of perisynaptic fibroblast-like cells at the NMJ. In this review, we discuss the importance of Schwann cells, the glial component of the NMJ, in the formation and function of the NMJ. During development, Schwann cells are closely associated with presynaptic nerve terminals and are required for the maintenance of the developing NMJ. After the establishment of the NMJ, Schwann cells actively modulate synaptic activity. Schwann cells also play critical roles in regeneration of the NMJ after nerve injury. Thus, Schwann cells are indispensable for formation and function of the NMJ. Further examination of the interplay among Schwann cells, the nerve and the muscle will provide insights into a better understanding of mechanisms underlying neuromuscular synapse formation and function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)295-302
Number of pages8
JournalBioscience reports
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Electron microscopy
  • Mutant mice
  • Neuregulin-erbB signalling
  • Synaptic transmission
  • Synaptogenesis
  • Vertebrate neuromuscular junction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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