Schwann cells are responsible for axon myelination in the peripheral nervous system. Disabling demyelinating neuropathies are associated with mutations in genes associated with regulating the process of myelination. In the June 25 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Rakesh Nagarajan and colleagues describe a study of gene expression in Schwann cells (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2001, 99:8998-9003).

They performed microarray analysis on normal or injured sciatic nerve material in mice following nerve crush or transection. More than 15% of the 12,645 genes that they analyzed changed expression following injury. To interpret their results they performed careful anchor gene correlation analysis (AGCA), using the expression of proliferative markers (Ki-67 antigen or PCNA), inflammatory genes (MCP-1 or interleukin 6) or myelination genes (such as PMP22 or MAG), as anchor genes. Their analysis led to the identification of myelination-associated genes involved in lipid synthesis...

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