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This chapter focuses on a family of receptors, the integrins. It reviews the expression and function of integrins in Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes, the myelin-forming cells of the peripheral (PNS) and central nervous system (CNS), respectively; and describes how integrin signaling might interact with other signaling pathways such as growth factors. These receptors have been shown to regulate cell behavior in a wide variety of systems. The nervous system is no exception, with some important experiments highlighting integrin function in neural development, maintenance, and repair. Cell culture experiments have shown that integrins can promote neurite outgrowth on a number of different extracellular matrix substrates including fibronectin and laminin. Integrins may also be essential for the higher order functions of the CNS, as other work implicates integrins in the formation of memory. Furthermore, this chapter examines the contributions that studies on integrins have made to understand the mechanisms that might underlie the regulation of axon-glial interaction and the failure of repair following demyelination in multiple sclerosis (MS).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMyelin Biology and Disorders
Number of pages24
ISBN (Print)9780124395107
Publication statusPublished - 2004

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