The expression of NGF receptors on human Schwann cells during development and myelination and in culture was analyzed using a murine monoclonal antibody to human NGF receptor. Nonmyelinated femoral nerves from 13- to 14-week fetuses stained strongly for NGF receptor, whereas tissues from later stages of development showed a decrease in the staining intensity. These changes correlated with the initiation of myelination (17-19 weeks), as observed by phase-contrast and electron microscopy, and the reactivity with monoclonal antibody 4C5, a marker of mature Schwann cells. In adult nerves, only the perineurium and few endoneurial cells were stained with anti-NGF receptor antibody. Cultured human fetal Schwann cells were positive for NGF receptor by immunofluorescence irregardless of donor age or length of time in culture. The decreased staining of NGF receptor with nerve maturation may reflect a dependence of antigen expression on Schwann cell differentiation and/or neuron-Schwann cell interaction.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology