Determinants of Axon Growth, Plasticity, and Regeneration in the Context of Spinal Cord Injury.
Filous AR, Schwab JM
The mechanisms that underlie recovery after injury of the central nervous system have rarely been definitively established. Axon regrowth remains the major prerequisite for plasticity, regeneration, circuit formation, and eventually functional recovery. The attributed functional relevance of axon regrowth, however, will depend on several subsequent conditional neurobiological modifications, including myelination and synapse formation, but also pruning of aberrant connectivity. Despite the ability to revamp axon outgrowth by altering an increasing number of extracellular and intracellular targets, disentangling which axons are responsible for the recovery of function from those that are functionally silent, or even contributing to aberrant functions, represents a pertinent void in our understanding, challenging the intuitive translational link between anatomical and functional regeneration. Anatomic hallmarks of regeneration are not static and are largely activity dependent. Herein, we survey mechanisms leading to the formation of dystrophic growth cone at the injured axonal tip, the subsequent axonal dieback, and the molecular determinants of axon growth, plasticity, and regeneration in the context of spinal cord injury.