Expression of an activated integrin promotes long-distance sensory axon regeneration in the spinal cord

Menghon Cheah, Melissa Renee Andrews, Daniel Chew, Elizabeth Moloney, Joost Verhaagen, Reinhard Fassler, James Fawcett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


After CNS injury, axon regeneration is blocked by an inhibitory environment consisting of the highly upregulated tenascin-C and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs). Tenascin-C promotes growth of axons if they express a tenascin-binding integrin, particularly α9β1. Additionally, integrins can be inactivated by CSPGs, and this inhibition can be overcome by the presence of a β1-binding integrin activator, kindlin-1. We examined the synergistic effect of α9 integrin and kindlin-1 on sensory axon regeneration in adult rat spinal cord after dorsal root crush and adeno-associated virus transgene expression in dorsal root ganglia. After 12 weeks, axons from C6–C7 dorsal root ganglia regenerated through the tenascin-C-rich dorsal root entry zone into the dorsal column up to C1 level and above (25mm axon length) through a normal pathway. Animals also showed anatomical and electrophysiological evidence of reconnection to the dorsal horn and behavioral recovery in mechanical pressure, thermal pain, and ladder-walking tasks. Expression of α9 integrin or kindlin-1 alone promoted much less regeneration and recovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7283-7297
Number of pages15
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number27
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jul 2016


  • Adeno-associated virus
  • Alpha9 integrin
  • Axon regeneration
  • Dorsal root ganglion
  • Kindlin-1
  • Spinal cord


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of an activated integrin promotes long-distance sensory axon regeneration in the spinal cord'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this