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Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2008 Jun;18(3):276-83. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2008.06.005.

Nerve injury signaling.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Washington University in St. Louis, 660 S Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110-1093, USA.


Although neurons within the peripheral nervous system (PNS) have a remarkable ability to repair themselves after injury, neurons within the central nervous system (CNS) do not spontaneously regenerate. This problem has remained recalcitrant despite a century of research on the reaction of axons to injury. The balance between inhibitory cues present in the environment and the intrinsic growth capacity of the injured neuron determines the extent of axonal regeneration following injury. The cell body of an injured neuron must receive accurate and timely information about the site and extent of axonal damage in order to increase its intrinsic growth capacity and successfully regenerate. One of the mechanisms contributing to this process is retrograde transport of injury signals. For example, molecules activated at the injury site convey information to the cell body leading to the expression of regeneration-associated genes and increased growth capacity of the neuron. Here we discuss recent studies that have begun to dissect the injury-signaling pathways involved in stimulating the intrinsic growth capacity of injured neurons.

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