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Brain Res Bull. 1999 Aug;49(6):377-91.

The glial scar and central nervous system repair.

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Department of Physiology and MRC Cambridge Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, UK.


Damage to the central nervous system (CNS) results in a glial reaction, leading eventually to the formation of a glial scar. In this environment, axon regeneration fails, and remyelination may also be unsuccessful. The glial reaction to injury recruits microglia, oligodendrocyte precursors, meningeal cells, astrocytes and stem cells. Damaged CNS also contains oligodendrocytes and myelin debris. Most of these cell types produce molecules that have been shown to be inhibitory to axon regeneration. Oligodendrocytes produce NI250, myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG), and tenascin-R, oligodendrocyte precursors produce NG2 DSD-1/phosphacan and versican, astrocytes produce tenascin, brevican, and neurocan, and can be stimulated to produce NG2, meningeal cells produce NG2 and other proteoglycans, and activated microglia produce free radicals, nitric oxide, and arachidonic acid derivatives. Many of these molecules must participate in rendering the damaged CNS inhibitory for axon regeneration. Demyelinated plaques in multiple sclerosis consists mostly of scar-type astrocytes and naked axons. The extent to which the astrocytosis is responsible for blocking remyelination is not established, but astrocytes inhibit the migration of both oligodendrocyte precursors and Schwann cells which must restrict their access to demyelinated axons.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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