Nerve regeneration and wound healing are stimulated and directed by an endogenous electrical field in vivo

J Cell Sci. 2004 Sep 15;117(Pt 20):4681-90. doi: 10.1242/jcs.01341.


Biological roles for naturally occurring, extracellular physiological electric fields have been proposed over the past century. However, in the molecular era, many biologists presume that electric fields have little physiological relevance because there has been no unequivocal demonstration of their importance at the single-cell level in vivo. We have used an in vivo rat corneal model, which generates its own endogenous electric field and show that nerve sprouting, the direction of nerve growth and the rate of epithelial wound healing are controlled coordinately by the wound-induced electric field.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cornea* / anatomy & histology
  • Cornea* / drug effects
  • Cornea* / pathology
  • Cornea* / physiology
  • Electricity*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Regeneration*
  • Wound Healing*