Schwann cells play pivotal roles in the development and maintenance of the peripheral nervous system. Here, we show that intact sciatic nerve axons of mice contain a small population of ribosomes, which increases by several orders of magnitude when axons are desomatized (severed from their cell bodies). We furthermore demonstrate, using the Wallerian degeneration slow mouse as a model, that Schwann cells transfer polyribosomes to desomatized axons. These data indicate that Schwann cells have the propensity to control axonal protein synthesis by supplying ribosomes on local basis. Copyright © 2008 Society for Neuroscience.