Faculty Advisor(s)

Angela L. Asirvatham



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Schwann cells are a type of glial cell in the peripheral nervous system that produce the myelin sheath surrounding neuronal axons. This myelin insulates the neurons and promotes the rapid conduction of electrical impulses throughout the body. Schwann cells have also been found to play a critical role in neuron repair following nerve injury. During nerve injury, the myelin sheath is damaged, stimulating Schwann cells to release cytokines, or inflammatory mediators, that recruit immune cells to the site of injury so that the myelin debris can be cleared, and repair can take place.1 Then neuronal growth is facilitated by heregulin and an unknown growth factor that stimulates the cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) pathway.2,3 There is still yet to be known regarding the exact mechanisms by which Schwann cells mediate nerve repair. Two pathways of interest are the nuclear factor kappa B (NK-κB) and cAMP pathways. The NF-κB pathway plays a major role in inflammation through the production of cytokines like tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and can be stimulated in vitro by treating cells with lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a cell wall immunostimulatory component of Gram-negative bacteria.1 The cAMP pathway is a key regulator of cell division2,4 and can be stimulated by treating cells with an artificial plant extract called forskolin.2 This study aims to examine proteins of the NF-κB pathway when stimulated with cAMP-activating growth factors. It was hypothesized that cells treated with LPS and growth factors express less NF-κB and TNF-α than cells treated with LPS only. A better understanding of the mechanisms underlying nerve injury and Schwann cell-mediated repair will hopefully shed light on a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of nerve injury and inflammation.

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Schwann cells, inflammation, heregulin, forskolin, lipopolysaccharide, nerve injury, proliferation, dose-response, cAMP


Immunopathology | Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience | Molecular Biology

Simulation of an Inflammatory Model Using Schwann Cells