Role of Netrin-1 Signaling in Nerve Regeneration.
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Netrin-1 was the first axon guidance molecule to be discovered in vertebrates and has a strong chemotropic function for axonal guidance, cell migration, morphogenesis and angiogenesis. It is a secreted axon guidance cue that can trigger attraction by binding to its canonical receptors Deleted in Colorectal Cancer (DCC) and Neogenin or repulsion through binding the DCC/Uncoordinated (Unc5) A-D receptor complex. The crystal structures of Netrin-1/receptor complexes have recently been revealed. These studies have provided a structure based explanation of Netrin-1 bi-functionality. Netrin-1 and its receptor are continuously expressed in the adult nervous system and are differentially regulated after nerve injury. In the adult spinal cord and optic nerve, Netrin-1 has been considered as an inhibitor that contributes to axon regeneration failure after injury. In the peripheral nervous system, Netrin-1 receptors are expressed in Schwann cells, the cell bodies of sensory neurons and the axons of both motor and sensory neurons. Netrin-1 is expressed in Schwann cells and its expression is up-regulated after peripheral nerve transection injury. Recent studies indicated that Netrin-1 plays a positive role in promoting peripheral nerve regeneration, Schwann cell proliferation and migration. Targeting of the Netrin-1 signaling pathway could develop novel therapeutic strategies to promote peripheral nerve regeneration and functional recovery.
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