We have tested the stimulation of Schwann cell migration from the distal stump of a 1 week transected sciatic nerve of adult rats by denervated skeletal muscle. Migrating Schwann cells were distinguished by the presence of non-specific cholinesterase (nChE) activity and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) at a distance of about 6 mm among denervated muscle fibres 4 weeks after insertion of the distal stump. In addition, the distal stump was introduced into the open end of a silicone chamber packed with artificial fibrin sponge (Gelaspon) soaked in homogenate from intact or denervated muscles. A larger amount of migrated Schwann cells was observed in the chambers filled with homogenate from denervated muscles. An alteration in the amounts of Schwann cells migrating into the silicone chambers observed after histochemical staining (nChE or GFAP) was supported by biochemical measurements of the nChE activity. The biochemical assessment of the nChE activity revealed the increased amounts of migrated Schwann cells in proportion to the protein contents of homogenates from the denervated muscles. In addition, heating of homogenate from the denervated muscles resulted in a diminution of Schwann cell migration. Bromodeoxyuridine incorporation did not show an increased proliferation of Schwann cells inside the chambers following application of homogenate from the denervated muscles in comparison with the homogenate from the innervated muscles. Our results suggest a stimulation of Schwann cell migration from the distal stump of the transected sciatic nerve by soluble factor(s) produced by denervated skeletal muscles.