Axonal regulation of Schwann cell glycolipid biosynthesis

Jeffrey K. Yao, Anthony J. Windebank, Joseph F. Poduslo, Jun E. Yoshino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Schwann cell biosynthesis of glycolipids was studied by in vitro incorporation of [3H]galactose into neonatal rat sciatic nerves before and after endoneurial explant culture and in culture of purified Schwann cells. In neonatal nerves prior to culture, [3H]galactose was actively incorporated into galactocerebrosides (GalCe), monogalactosyl diacylglycerol (MGDG), and the sulfatides (Su). In contrast, the incorporation of [3H]galactose into MGDG, GalCe, and Su was nearly undetected in endoneurial explants after 4 days in vitro (div). Instead, there was increased3H-labeling of glucocerebrosides (GlcCe) and its homologues, with tetrahexosylceramides (GL-4) being a major product, which continued through 8 div. This shift in glycolipid biosynthesis was further demonstrated in the purified Schwann cell cultures. These observations, together with our early findings in the permanent transection paradigm support a direct role of axons in specifying Schwann cell biosynthesis of the GalCe, MGDG, and Su and that the absence of this Schwann cell-axon interaction results in the phenotypic expression of glucocerebroside homologues by the Schwann cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)279-282
Number of pages4
JournalNeurochemical Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1990


  • Glucocerebroside
  • Schwann cells
  • [H]galactose
  • galactocerebroside
  • nerve explants
  • peripheral nerve

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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