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This chapter considers evidence that Schwann cells, the glial cells of the peripheral nervous system, play a crucial role in guiding and supporting the regeneration of peripheral axons. A role of the endoneurial tubes in guiding regenerating axons to synaptic sites in muscles was indicated by earlier vital imaging experiments. The observations that suggested regenerating axons grew to adjacent synaptic sites by following the processes extended by Schwann cells raised the issue of whether Schwann cells played a similar role in another type of nerve growth that had been extensively described and studied, the phenomenon of terminal sprouting. Several laboratories have examined muscle reinnervation by collecting repeated, vital images of axons, postsynaptic acetylcholine receptors, and Schwann cells. Observations of the reinnervation of frog neuromuscular junctions ultimately lead to the discovery of the crucial synapse-organizing-protein agrin.
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