Epineurial adipocytes are dispensable for Schwann cell myelination


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Roman Chrast, Department of Medical Genetics, University of Lausanne, 1005 Lausanne, Switzerland.

E-mail: roman.chrast@unil.ch


Previous clinical observations and data from mouse models with defects in lipid metabolism suggested that epineurial adipocytes may play a role in peripheral nervous system myelination. We have used adipocyte-specific Lpin1 knockout mice to characterize the consequences of the presence of impaired epineurial adipocytes on the myelinating peripheral nerve. Our data revealed that the capacity of Schwann cells to establish myelin, and the functional properties of peripheral nerves, were not affected by compromised epineurial adipocytes in adipocyte-specific Lpin1 knockout mice. To evaluate the possibility that Lpin1-negative adipocytes are still able to support endoneurial Schwann cells, we also characterized sciatic nerves from mice carrying epiblast-specific deletion of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, which develop general lipoatrophy. Interestingly, even the complete loss of adipocytes in the epineurium of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma knockout mice did not lead to detectable defects in Schwann cell myelination. However, probably as a consequence of their hyperglycemia, these mice have reduced nerve conduction velocity, thus mimicking the phenotype observed under diabetic condition. Together, our data indicate that while adipocytes, as regulators of lipid and glucose homeostasis, play a role in nerve function, their presence in epineurium is not essential for establishment or maintenance of proper myelin.