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Expression and Function of Junctional Adhesion Molecule-C in Myelinated Peripheral Nerves

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Science  30 Nov 2007:
Vol. 318, Issue 5855, pp. 1472-1475
DOI: 10.1126/science.1149276

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Abstract

JAM-C is an adhesion molecule that is expressed on cells within the vascular compartment and epithelial cells and, to date, has been largely studied in the context of inflammatory events. Using immunolabeling procedures in conjunction with confocal and electron microscopy, we show here that JAM-C is also expressed in peripheral nerves and that this expression is localized to Schwann cells at junctions between adjoining myelin end loops. Sciatic nerves from JAM-C–deficient [having the JAM-C gene knocked out (KO)] mice exhibited loss of integrity of the myelin sheath and defective nerve conduction as indicated by morphological and electrophysiological studies, respectively. In addition, behavioral tests showed motor abnormalities in the KO animals. JAM-C was also expressed in human sural nerves with an expression profile similar to that seen in mice. These results demonstrate that JAM-C is a component of the autotypic junctional attachments of Schwann cells and plays an important role in maintaining the integrity and function of myelinated peripheral nerves.

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