The neuroimmunology of degeneration and regeneration in the peripheral nervous system

Neuroscience. 2015 Aug 27:302:174-203. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.09.027. Epub 2014 Sep 19.


Peripheral nerves regenerate following injury due to the effective activation of the intrinsic growth capacity of the neurons and the formation of a permissive pathway for outgrowth due to Wallerian degeneration (WD). WD and subsequent regeneration are significantly influenced by various immune cells and the cytokines they secrete. Although macrophages have long been known to play a vital role in the degenerative process, recent work has pointed to their importance in influencing the regenerative capacity of peripheral neurons. In this review, we focus on the various immune cells, cytokines, and chemokines that make regeneration possible in the peripheral nervous system, with specific attention placed on the role macrophages play in this process.

Keywords: axotomy; chemokine; conditioning lesion; cytokine; dorsal root ganglion; macrophage.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Nerve Degeneration / etiology*
  • Nerve Degeneration / immunology*
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neuroimmunomodulation / physiology*
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / complications*


  • Cytokines