CNS regeneration: clinical possibility or basic science fantasy?

J Clin Neurosci. 2003 Sep;10(5):523-34. doi: 10.1016/s0967-5868(03)00004-3.


Following injury to the CNS, severed axons undergo a phase of abortive sprouting in the vicinity of the wound, but do not spontaneously re-grow or regenerate. From a long history of attempts to stimulate regeneraion, a major strategy that has been developed clinically is the implantation of tissue into denervated target regions. Unfortunately trials have so far not borne out the promise that this would prove a useful therapy for disorders such as Parkinson's disease. Many strategies have also been developed to stimulate the regeneration of axons across sites of injury, particularly in the spinal cord. Animal data have demonstrated that some of these approaches hold promise and that the spinal cord has a remarkable degree of intrinsic plasticity. Attempts are now being made to utilize experimental techniques in spinal patients.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Denervation
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Microglia / physiology
  • Models, Animal
  • Nerve Fibers / physiology
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Parkinson Disease / physiopathology
  • Parkinson Disease / surgery
  • Peripheral Nerves / transplantation
  • Spinal Cord Diseases / physiopathology