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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016, Article ID 7891202, 13 pages
Research Article

17β-Estradiol Promotes Schwann Cell Proliferation and Differentiation, Accelerating Early Remyelination in a Mouse Peripheral Nerve Injury Model

1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China
2Key Laboratory of Birth Defects and Related Diseases of Women and Children (Sichuan University), Ministry of Education, Chengdu 610041, China
3Department of Anatomy, Chengdu University, Chengdu 610106, China
4The Joint Laboratory for Reproductive Medicine of Sichuan University-The Chinese University of Hong Kong, West China Second University Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu 610041, China

Received 27 July 2016; Accepted 4 October 2016

Academic Editor: Markus Kipp

Copyright © 2016 Yan Chen 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.


Estrogen induces oligodendrocyte remyelination in response to demyelination in the central nervous system. Our objective was to determine the effects of 17-estradiol (E2) on Schwann cell function and peripheral nerve remyelination after injury. Adult male C57BL/6J mice were used to prepare the sciatic nerve transection injury model and were randomly categorized into control and E2 groups. To study myelination in vitro, dorsal root ganglion (DRG) explant culture was prepared using 13.5-day-old mouse embryos. Primary Schwann cells were isolated from the sciatic nerves of 1- to 3-day-old Sprague–Dawley rats. Immunostaining for myelin basic protein (MBP) expression and toluidine blue staining for myelin sheaths demonstrated that E2 treatment accelerates early remyelination in the “nerve bridge” region between the proximal and distal stumps of the transection injury site in the mouse sciatic nerve. The 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine incorporation assay revealed that E2 promotes Schwann cell proliferation in the bridge region and in the primary culture, which is blocked using AKT inhibitor MK2206. The in vitro myelination in the DRG explant culture determined showed that the MBP expression in the E2-treated group is higher than that in the control group. These results show that E2 promotes Schwann cell proliferation and myelination depending on AKT activation.