Chapter 19: The role of collagen in peripheral nerve repair

Int Rev Neurobiol. 2009;87:363-79. doi: 10.1016/S0074-7742(09)87019-0.


Collagens are extracellular proteins characterized by a triple helical structure and predominantly involved in the formation of fibrillar and microfibrillar networks of the extracellular matrix and basement membranes. There are 29 collagen types which differ in size, structure, and function. In the peripheral nervous system, two classes of collagen molecules are expressed: fibril forming collagens (type-I, III, and V) and basement membrane collagens (type-IV). Collagens are required for normal extracellular matrix assembly and play an important role in the regulation of Schwann cell function. After injury collagen production in the severed nerve often exceeds the ideal response which is suggested to hinder the growth of sprouting axons into the appropriate distal fascicles and therefore delays and limits nerve regeneration. Both surgical techniques and pharmacological agents are developed to reduce injury induced scarring but despite this nerve regeneration is frequently incomplete. The aim of the present review is to provide the reader a clear overview of the current knowledge with respect to collagens in the peripheral nervous system and to emphasize its role after nerve injury.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Collagen / metabolism*
  • History, 18th Century
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neurosurgical Procedures / history
  • Peripheral Nerves / growth & development
  • Peripheral Nerves / physiology*
  • Peripheral Nerves / surgery


  • Collagen