Electrical activity modulates growth cone guidance by diffusible factors

Neuron. 2001 Feb;29(2):441-52. doi: 10.1016/s0896-6273(01)00217-3.


Brief periods of electrical stimulation of cultured Xenopus spinal neurons resulted in a marked alteration in the turning responses of the growth cone induced by gradients of attractive or repulsive guidance cues. Netrin-1-induced attraction was enhanced, and the repulsion induced by myelin-associated glycoprotein (MAG) or myelin membrane fragments was converted to attraction. The effect required the presence of extracellular Ca(2+) during electrical stimulation and appeared to be mediated by an elevation of both cytoplasmic Ca(2+) and cAMP. Thus, electrical activity may influence the axonal path finding of developing neurons, and intermittent electrical stimulation may be effective in promoting nerve regeneration after injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemotaxis
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Glycoproteins / pharmacology*
  • Growth Cones / drug effects*
  • Growth Cones / physiology
  • Myelin Sheath / metabolism
  • Myelin Sheath / physiology*
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein / pharmacology*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / pharmacology*
  • Nerve Regeneration / drug effects
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology
  • Netrin-1
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Semaphorin-3A
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Xenopus


  • Glycoproteins
  • Myelin-Associated Glycoprotein
  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Semaphorin-3A
  • Tumor Suppressor Proteins
  • Netrin-1
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Calcium