Nerve-associated neural crest: peripheral glial cells generate multiple fates in the body


Recent studies demonstrated that neural crest-derived Schwann cell precursors (SCPs) dwelling in the nerves are multipotent and can be recruited in the local tissue to provide building blocks of neural crest-derived nature. The variety of fates produced by SCPs is widening with every year and currently includes melanocytes/melanophores, parasympathetic and enteric neurons, endoneural fibroblast, mesenchymal stem cells and, of course, mature Schwann cells of different subtypes. However, it is still unclear if SCPs are, in fact, nerve-dwelling population of the neural crest or they are rather a different, more specialized, cell type. This review outlines the field and focuses on the capacity of nerve-associated glial progenitors to contribute to the development and regeneration of numerous tissues in various groups of vertebrates.

Current Opinion in Genetics and Development