Schwann cell cultures are difficult to obtain from adult rat because of the abundant amount of connective tissue and myelin. We have developed a method for isolation and culture of these cells by mechanical and chemical dissociation which represents a modification of a previously described procedure for human neurofibromas. Schwann cells were identified in indirect immunofluorescence by the capacity to bind antibodies to S-100, galactocerebroside, and laminin. The baseline cell proliferation index was assessed by immunofluorescence of bromodeoxyuridine. This method provides Schwann cells from adult rat nerves for at least 7 days and in sufficient numbers for (a) morphological and immunological characterization and (b) analysis of the effects of mitogenic factors.
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