CARSON J. CORNBROOKS
Anatomy and Neurobiology
Ph.D., Medical College of Virginia, 1977
Current research interests concern the role of the Schwann cell in the development and repair of the peripheral and central nervous systems. One area of focus is directed to determine the mechanisms by which extracellular matrix molecules regulate Schwann cell differentiation. The majority of the work utilizes a tissue culture system in which we can establish Schwann cells in numerous states of differentiation, thereby allowing us to examine each stage and/or the transition to the succeeding stage(s). The differentiation process is studied by molecular biological and immunohistochemical (monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies) methods. Using this approach, we have been able to visualize the presence and developmental regulation of numerous Schwann cell molecules.
We also developed new approaches to examine the participation of Schwann cells in CNS and PNS regeneration. Experiments on the biological mechanisms involved in neural regeneration were initiated from two directions. First, various substrates, both cellular (e.g., Schwann cells) and acellular (e.g., Schwann-cell derived extracellular matrix molecules) were examined in culture for their ability to promote neurite elongation from embryonic PNS and CNS neurons. We have also established the methodologies to implant culture-derived PNS tissue into CNS lesion cavities and analyze the ability of the transplants to facilitate regeneration from adult, CNS neurons. These studies are designed to determine the cellular source and eventually the molecules which are most germane to CNS regeneration. Second, an approach has been developed to examine the hypothesis that Schwann cell gene expression is regulated by contact with extracellular matrix molecules. Specifically the ability of Schwann cells to express integrins and adhesive proteins which facilitate Schwann cell differentaiation and neuron regeneration is examined. We expect that this line of research will provide the methods to describe the response of Schwann cells to dedifferentiation and provide insight into the mechanism by which Schwann cells facilitate neuron regeneration.
Neuberger, T.J., C.J. Cornbrooks, and L.F. Kromer (1992). Effects of delayed transplantation of cultured Schwann cells on axonal regeneration from central nervous system cholinergic neurons. J. Comp. Neurology 315:16-33.
Cornbrooks, C.J. (1993). Modulation of Schwann cell morphology by extracellular matrix and cytoskeletal molecules. Soc. for Neurosci. Abst. 19:35.
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