The diversity and disparity of the glial scar

Nat Neurosci. 2018 Jan;21(1):9-15. doi: 10.1038/s41593-017-0033-9. Epub 2017 Dec 21.


Injury or disease to the CNS results in multifaceted cellular and molecular responses. One such response, the glial scar, is a structural formation of reactive glia around an area of severe tissue damage. While traditionally viewed as a barrier to axon regeneration, beneficial functions of the glial scar have also been recently identified. In this Perspective, we discuss the divergent roles of the glial scar during CNS regeneration and explore the possibility that these disparities are due to functional heterogeneity within the cells of the glial scar-specifically, astrocytes, NG2 glia and microglia.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / complications
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / pathology*
  • Cicatrix / etiology
  • Cicatrix / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Neuroglia / classification
  • Neuroglia / pathology*
  • Regeneration*