Peripheral nerve injury induced changes in the spinal cord and strategies to counteract/enhance the changes to promote nerve regeneration

Yan Liu, Huan Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Peripheral nerve injury leads to morphological, molecular and gene expression changes in the spinal cord and dorsal root ganglia, some of which have positive impact on the survival of neurons and nerve regeneration, while the effect of others is the opposite. It is crucial to take prompt measures to capitalize on the positive effects of these reactions and counteract the negative impact after peripheral nerve injury at the level of spinal cord, especially for peripheral nerve injuries that are severe, located close to the cell body, involve long distance for axons to regrow and happen in immature individuals. Early nerve repair, exogenous supply of neurotrophic factors and Schwann cells can sustain the regeneration inductive environment and enhance the positive changes in neurons. Administration of neurotrophic factors, acetyl-L-carnitine, N-acetyl-cysteine, and N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist MK-801 can help counteract axotomy-induced neuronal loss and promote regeneration, which are all time-dependent. Sustaining and reactivation of Schwann cells after denervation provides another effective strategy. FK506 can be used to accelerate axonal regeneration of neurons, especially after chronic axotomy. Exploring the axotomy-induced changes after peripheral nerve injury and applying protective and promotional measures in the spinal cord which help to retain a positive functional status for neuron cell bodies will inevitably benefit regeneration of the peripheral nerve and improve functional outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-198
Number of pages10
JournalNeural Regeneration Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020


  • axotomy
  • dorsal root ganglion
  • neural regeneration
  • neurotrophic factors
  • outcomes
  • peripheral nerve injury
  • repair
  • spinal cord

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience


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