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Differential expression of triiodothyronine receptors in schwannoma and neurofibroma: role of Schwann cell-axon interaction


Regulation of gene expression in Schwann cells may be determined, at least in part, by the interaction of these cells with axons. Two peripheral nerve tumors, neurofibroma and schwannoma, represent good tools for studying Schwann cell activity in the presence or absence of axon action. In the present work we studied the expression of triiodothyronine receptors (T3R) by Schwann cells in these two tumors and also in adult normal sciatic nerve. Confirming the results of the histological examination, immunostaining of the neurofilaments showed the presence of fascicles or scattered axons in all neurofibroma sections studied. In these neurofibromas, Schwann cells did not express T3R immunoreactivity Furthermore, in adult normal sciatic nerve, Schwann cells which ensheathed axons were devoid of any T3R expression. In contrast, in schwannoma, the complete absence of axons was demonstrated by the lack of neurofilament immunostaining. Here, Schwann cells deprived of axonal interaction displayed clear T3R immunoreactivity. In schwannoma cell cultures, Schwann cells continued to express T3R, even in cultures treated with medium that had been conditioned with rat sensory neurons. On the basis of these results, we suggest that, beside the possible regulatory mechanisms for T3R, the synthesis of T3R is regulated, at least in part, by Schwann cell-axon interaction.

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Correspondence to I. Barakat Walter.

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Walter, I.B., Deruaz, J.P. & de Tribolet, N. Differential expression of triiodothyronine receptors in schwannoma and neurofibroma: role of Schwann cell-axon interaction. Acta Neuropathol 90, 142–149 (1995).

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Key words

  • Sciatic nerve
  • Schwannoma
  • Neurofibroma
  • Schwann cell-axon interaction
  • Triiodothryonine receptor