TERMINAL SCHWANN CELL DISTRIBUTION AT THE NEUROMUSCULAR JUNCTION OF THE DYSTROPHIN-DEFICIENT MDX MICE
J. Morphol. Sci., vol.23, n1, p.0, 2006
The murine model of muscular dystrophy, the mdx mice, is widely used to study the pathogenesis of muscular dystrophies. These mice suffer an X-linked dystrophin deficiency and present cycles of muscle fiber degeneration-regeneration beginning at 21 days of age. At the present, we studied neuromuscular junction organization in the sternomastoid muscle of mdx mice, focusing on the distribution of terminal Schwann cells during early development and adults. Seven and 14 days after birth (n=200 endplates for each age), before the onset of muscle degeneration-regeneration, fluorescence confocal microscopy showed that there were no detectable differences in the pattern of Schwann cell distribution in the mdx compared to controls of the same age. Schwann cells had a diffuse pattern of distribution, covering the plaques of acetylcholine receptors. In adult mdx muscles, terminal Schwann cell processes filled the center of acetylcholine receptors islands, similar to nerve terminal distribution, at the majority of the junctions (n=200; 100%). Conversely, all of the adult control junctions (n=200) showed continuous processes of Schwann cells covering the continuous branches of acetylcholine receptors. These observations indicate that remodeling of the three components of the neuromuscular junction occurs only after the onset of the cycles of muscle fiber degeneration-regeneration, in the mdx mice.
Dystrophy, mdx, neuromuscular junction, Schwann cell