After central nervous system (CNS) injury axons fail to regenerate often leading to persistent neurologic deficit although injured peripheral nervous system (PNS) axons mount a robust regenerative response that may lead to functional recovery. Some of the failures of CNS regeneration arise from the many glial-based inhibitory molecules found in the injured CNS, whereas the intrinsic regenerative potential of some CNS neurons is actively curtailed during CNS maturation and limited after injury. In this review, the molecular basis for extrinsic and intrinsic modulation of axon regeneration within the nervous system is evaluated. A more complete understanding of the factors limiting axonal regeneration will provide a rational basis, which is used to develop improved treatments for nervous system injury.
Keywords: PTEN; SOCS3; neurotrophic factor; regeneration; spinal cord injury; sprouting; transplants.