Integrins promote axonal regeneration after injury of the nervous system

Bart Nieuwenhuis*, Barbara Haenzi, Melissa R. Andrews, Joost Verhaagen, James W. Fawcett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Integrins are cell surface receptors that form the link between extracellular matrix molecules of the cell environment and internal cell signalling and the cytoskeleton. They are involved in several processes, e.g. adhesion and migration during development and repair. This review focuses on the role of integrins in axonal regeneration. Integrins participate in spontaneous axonal regeneration in the peripheral nervous system through binding to various ligands that either inhibit or enhance their activation and signalling. Integrin biology is more complex in the central nervous system. Integrins receptors are transported into growing axons during development, but selective polarised transport of integrins limits the regenerative response in adult neurons. Manipulation of integrins and related molecules to control their activation state and localisation within axons is a promising route towards stimulating effective regeneration in the central nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1339-1362
Number of pages24
JournalBiological Reviews
Issue number3
Early online date15 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018


XI. This review was funded by a Nathalie Rose Barr award (NRB110) from the International Spinal Research Trust, a grant from the Medical Research Council (G1000864), an ERA-NET NEURON grant AxonRepair (013-16-002) and support from the Hersenstichting Nederland, NWO, and the Laboratory for Regeneration of Sensorimotor Systems at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience.

FundersFunder number
Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience
Medical Research CouncilMR/R004544/1, G1000864, 013-16-002, MR/R004463/1
International Spinal Research Trust
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


    • axon regeneration
    • integrin
    • kindlin
    • receptor activation state
    • selective polarised transport
    • traumatic injury of the nervous system


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