Molecular, cellular and functional events in axonal sprouting after stroke

Exp Neurol. 2017 Jan;287(Pt 3):384-394. doi: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2016.02.007. Epub 2016 Feb 10.


Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability. Yet there is a limited degree of recovery in this disease. One of the mechanisms of recovery is the formation of new connections in the brain and spinal cord after stroke: post-stroke axonal sprouting. Studies indicate that post-stroke axonal sprouting occurs in mice, rats, primates and humans. Inducing post-stroke axonal sprouting in specific connections enhances recovery; blocking axonal sprouting impairs recovery. Behavioral activity patterns after stroke modify the axonal sprouting response. A unique regenerative molecular program mediates this aspect of tissue repair in the CNS. The types of connections that are formed after stroke indicate three patterns of axonal sprouting after stroke: reactive, reparative and unbounded axonal sprouting. These differ in mechanism, location, relationship to behavioral recovery and, importantly, in their prospect for therapeutic manipulation to enhance tissue repair.

Keywords: Astrocyte; Behavior; Cortex; GDF10; Recovery; Regeneration; Rehabilitation; Spinal cord; TGFβ.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / pathology
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Nerve Regeneration / genetics*
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Recovery of Function / physiology
  • Stroke / pathology*
  • Stroke / physiopathology*