Roles of Eph receptors and ephrins in the normal and damaged adult CNS

Yona Goldshmit, Samuel McLenachan, Ann Turnley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

143 Citations (Scopus)


Injury to the central nervous system (CNS) usually results in very limited regeneration of lesioned axons, which are inhibited by the environment of the injury site. Factors that have been implicated in inhibition of axonal regeneration include myelin proteins, astrocytic gliosis and cell surface molecules that are involved in axon guidance during development. This review examines the contribution of one such family of developmental guidance molecules, the Eph receptor tyrosine kinases and their ligands, the ephrins in normal adult CNS and following injury or disease. Eph/ephrin signaling regulates axon guidance through contact repulsion during development of the CNS, inducing collapse of neuronal growth cones. Eph receptors and ephrins continue to be expressed in the adult CNS, although usually at lower levels, but are upregulated following neural injury on different cell types, including reactive astrocytes, neurons and oligodendrocytes. This upregulated expression may directly inhibit regrowth of regenerating axons; however, in addition, Eph expression also regulates astrocytic gliosis and formation of the glial scar. Therefore, Eph/ephrin signaling may inhibit regeneration by more than one mechanism and modulation of Eph receptor expression or signaling could prove pivotal in determining the outcome of injury in the adult CNS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-345
Number of pages19
JournalBrain Research Reviews
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006
Externally publishedYes


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