Inflammation, degeneration and regeneration in the injured spinal cord: insights from DNA microarrays

Trends Neurosci. 2003 Oct;26(10):555-63. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2003.08.004.


GeneChip microarrays have recently been introduced to the field of neurobiology to identify and monitor the expression levels of thousands of genes simultaneously. This powerful technique is now used for studying the pathophysiology of CNS injuries including spinal cord lesions. Early stages after injury are characterized by the strong upregulation of genes involved in transcription and inflammation and a general downregulation of structural proteins and proteins involved in neurotransmission. Later, an increase in the expression of growth factors, axonal guidance factors, extracellular matrix molecules and angiogenic factors reflects the attempts for repair, while upregulation of stress genes and proteases and downregulation of cytoskeletal and synaptic mRNA reflect the struggle of the tissue to survive. DNA microarrays have the potential to aid discovery of new targets for neuroprotective or restorative therapeutic approaches

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenic Proteins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Growth Substances / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Nerve Degeneration / metabolism*
  • Nerve Regeneration*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis* / methods
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis* / trends
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Time Factors


  • Angiogenic Proteins
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Growth Substances
  • RNA, Messenger