Zebrafish proves to be an excellent model system to study spinal cord regeneration because it can repair its disengaged axons and replace lost cells after injury, allowing the animal to make functional recovery. We have characterized injury response following crush injury, which is comparable to the mammalian mode of injury. Infiltrations of blood cells during early phases involve macrophages that are important in debris clearance and probably in suppression of inflammatory response. Unlike mammals where secondary injury mechanisms lead to apoptotic death of both neurons and glia, here we observe a beneficial role of apoptotic cell death. Injury-induced proliferation, presence of radial glia cells, and their role as progenitor all contribute to cellular replacement and successful neurogenesis after injury in adult zebrafish. Together with cell replacement phenomenon, there is creation of a permissive environment that includes the absence or clearance of myelin debris, presence of Schwann cells, and absence of inflammatory response.
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.