After peripheral nerve injury, Wallerian degeneration (WD) occurs in the distal nerve segment. During the process of degeneration, Schwann cells (SCs) dedifferentiate, proliferate and migrate to align in “bands of Büngner”, providing structural guidance and growth-promoting substrates to regenerating axons. The molecular signals that trigger SCs migration remain unclear. Here, we explored the molecular characteristics of the migration of cultured SCs prepared from rat sciatic nerves that had degenerated. The results revealed that elevated p-ERK1/2 was coupled with the migration of SCs, activated either by nerve degeneration or the addition of placenta growth factor. However, the inhibition of ERK1/2 activity, which activated the PI3K pathway, did not show a significant negative effect on SC migratory potential. Combined inhibition of ERK1/2 and AKT activity resulted in a significant decrease in SCs motility. These molecular characteristics suggest that both the ERK1/2 and AKT signals are involved in the migratory potential of SCs. It may be helpful to understand the process of nerve regeneration and perspective on promoting peripheral nerve regeneration.
2015 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science