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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 310215, 15 pages
Research Article

Characterization of Glial Cell Models and In Vitro Manipulation of the Neuregulin1/ErbB System

1Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Torino, Nerve Regeneration Group, 10043 Orbassano, Italy
2Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi (NICO), 10043 Orbassano, Italy
3Department of Neuroregeneration, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), 1105 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4Department of Neurosurgery, Leiden University Medical Center, 2333 ZA Leiden, The Netherlands
5Institute of Neurological Sciences, National Research Council (CNR), 95126 Catania, Italy
6Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Anatomy, University of Genova, 16132 Genova, Italy
7Neuroscience Institute of Torino (NIT), Interdepartmental Centre of Advanced Studies in Neuroscience, University of Torino, 10043 Orbassano, Italy

Received 4 March 2014; Revised 3 July 2014; Accepted 7 July 2014; Published 7 August 2014

Academic Editor: Stefano Geuna

Copyright © 2014 Davide Pascal et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The neuregulin1/ErbB system plays an important role in Schwann cell behavior both in normal and pathological conditions. Upon investigation of the expression of the neuregulin1/ErbB system in vitro, we explored the possibility to manipulate the system in order to increase the migration of Schwann cells, that play a fundamental role in the peripheral nerve regeneration. Comparison of primary cells and stable cell lines shows that both primary olfactory bulb ensheathing cells and a corresponding cell line express ErbB1-ErbB2 and neuregulin1, and that both primary Schwann cells and a corresponding cell line express ErbB2-ErbB3, while only primary Schwann cells express neuregulin1. To interfere with the neuregulin1/ErbB system, the soluble extracellular domain of the neuregulin1 receptor ErbB4 (ecto-ErbB4) was expressed in vitro in the neuregulin1 expressing cell line, and an unexpected increase in cell motility was observed. In vitro experiments suggest that the back signaling mediated by the transmembrane neuregulin1 plays a role in the migratory activity induced by ecto-ErbB4. These results indicate that ecto-ErbB4 could be used in vivo as a tool to manipulate the neuregulin1/ErbB system.