The extracellular matrix in axon regeneration

Prog Brain Res. 2002;137:333-49. doi: 10.1016/s0079-6123(02)37025-0.


This review of ECM molecules shows quite clearly the function of the ECM in development but more importantly in the mature CNS after injury. Most of the proteoglycans, especially the large CS-PGs, are able to inhibit neurite outgrowth and in vivo experiments are now in progress to specifically inhibit these important molecules. The nature of growth promoter ECM molecules in the CNS after injury, either within or distant from the injury is now becoming better appreciated and we suggest that the laminin family should be important targets for exploration. Indeed, a better understanding of the interaction of laminin with those ECM components that are inhibitory is a clear goal for the future. Our ultimate aim must be to change the balance of factors at lesion sites to allow the more permissive environment after CNS injury to predominate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Extracellular Matrix / physiology*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / therapy


  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins