Myelination allows fast and synchronized nerve influxes and is provided by Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system. Glucocorticoid hormones are major regulators of stress, metabolism and immunity affecting all tissues. They act by binding to two receptors, the low affinity glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and the high affinity mineralocorticoid receptor (MR). Little is known on the effect of glucocorticoid hormones on the PNS and this study focuses on deciphering the role of MR in peripheral myelination. In this work, the presence of a functional MR in Schwann cells is demonstrated and the expression of MR protein in mouse sciatic nerve SC is evidenced. Besides, knockout of MR in SC (SCMRKO using Cre-lox system with DesertHedgeHog (Dhh) Cre promoter) was undertaken in mice. SCMRKO was not associated with alterations of performance in motor behavioral tests on 2- to 6-month old male mice compared to their controls. No obvious modifications of myelin gene expression or MR signaling gene expression were observed in the SCMRKO sciatic nerves. Nevertheless, Gr transcript and GR protein amounts were significantly increased in SCMRKO nerves compared to controls, suggesting a possible compensatory effect. Besides, an increase in myelin sheath thickness was noted for axons with perimeters larger than 15 µm in SCMRKO illustrated by a significant 4.5 % reduction in g-ratio (axon perimeter/myelin sheath perimeter). Thus, we defined MR as a new player in peripheral system myelination and in SC homeostasis.
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