Date of Award

2011

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Human Biology)

School

School of Medical Sciences

Faculty

Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Associate Professor Mel Ziman

Abstract

Pax3 has numerous integral functions in embryonic tissue morphogenesis while knowledge of its complex function in cells of adult tissue continues to unfold. Across a variety of adult tissue lineages, the role of Pax3 is principally linked to maintenance of the tissue’s resident stem and progenitor cell population. In adult peripheral nerves, Pax3 is reported to be expressed in nonmyelinating Schwann cells, however, little is known about the purpose of this expression. Based on the evidence of its role in other adult tissue stem and progenitor cell maintenance, it was hypothesised that the cells in adult peripheral nerve that express Pax3 may be Schwann glioblasts. Here, methods have been developed for visualisation of Pax3 expressant cells in normal 60 day old mouse peripheral nerve. Visualisation allowed morphological, anatomical and phenotypic distinctions to be made between these Pax3 expressing cells and Remak bundle nonmyelinating Schwann cells. The distinctions described herein, together with the finding that Pax3 expressing cells co-express stem cell marker Sox2, provides compelling support for the suggestion that a progenitor Schwann cell population may be present in adult mouse peripheral nerve.