Extracellular matrix components in peripheral nerve regeneration

Francisco Gonzalez-Perez, Esther Udina, Xavier Navarro

Research output: Chapter in BookChapterResearchpeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


Injured axons of the peripheral nerve are able to regenerate and, eventually, reinnervate target organs. However, functional recovery is usually poor after severe nerve injuries. The switch of Schwann cells to a proliferative state, secretion of trophic factors, and the presence of extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules (such as collagen, laminin, or fibronectin) in the distal stump are key elements to create a permissive environment for axons to grow. In this review, we focus attention on the ECM components and their tropic role in axonal regeneration. These components can also be used as molecular cues to guide the axons through artificial nerve guides in attempts to better mimic the natural environment found in a degenerating nerve. Most used scaffolds tested are based on natural molecules that form the ECM, but use of synthetic polymers and functionalization of hydrogels are bringing new options. Progress in tissue engineering will eventually lead to the design of composite artificial nerve grafts that may replace the use of autologous nerve grafts to sustain regeneration over long gaps. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternational Review of Neurobiology
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Artificial nerve graft
  • Collagen
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Fibronectin
  • Laminin
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Tissue engineering


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