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We have examined the expression of a gap junction protein, connexin32 (Cx32), in Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes. In peripheral nerve, Cx32 is found in the paranodal myelin loops and Schmidt-Lanterman incisures of myelinating Schwann cells, and the levels of Cx32 protein and mRNA change in parallel with those of other myelin-related genes during development, Wallerian degeneration, and axonal regeneration. In the central nervous system, Cx32 is found in oligodendrocytes and their processes, but not in compact myelin, and the levels of Cx32 protein and mRNA increase during development in parallel with those of the other myelin genes. Thus, Cx32 is expressed as part of the myelinating phenotype of both Schwann cells and oligodendrocytes, indicating that this gap junction protein plays in important role in the biology of myelin-forming cells.


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