• calcium;
  • D-serine;
  • glutamate;
  • neuronal cell death;
  • peripheral nerve;
  • serine racemase


Neurodegenerative effects of Schwann cells transplanted into the central nervous system have been observed previously. We report here that conditioned medium from Schwann cell cultures exhibit degenerative influences on hippocampal neurons. Aliquots of Schwann cell-conditioned medium compromised the morphologic integrity of the neurons, markedly elevated their intracellular calcium concentrations, and decreased their viability. The degenerative effects of Schwann cell medium on neuronal morphology and viability were blocked by N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists D-(−)-2-amino-5-phosphonopentanoic acid (D-APV) and 5,7-dicholorokynurenic acid (DCKA). Glutamate was detected in Schwann cell-conditioned medium at a concentration on the order of 10−5 M. D-Amino acid oxidase (DAAOx) also attenuated the neurotoxicity exhibited by Schwann cells. These data suggest that Schwann cells release biologically relevant concentrations of excitotoxins that include glutamate and D-serine. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.