Reelin, an extracellular matrix protein, plays an important role in the regulation of neuronal migration and cortical lamination in the developing brain. Little is known, however, about the role of this protein in axonal regeneration. We have previously shown that Reelin is secreted by Schwann cells in the peripheral nerve compartment during postnatal development and that it is up-regulated following nerve injury in adult mice. In this work, we generated mice deficient in Reelin (reeler) that express yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) in a subset of neurons and examined the axonal regeneration following nerve crush. We found that axonal regeneration was significantly altered compared with wild-type mice. By contrast, retrograde tracing with Fluorogold dye after sciatic nerve crush was unaffected in these mutants, being comparable with normal axonal transport observed in wild-type. These results indicate that the absence of Reelin impairs axonal regeneration following injury and support a role for this protein in the process of peripheral nerve regeneration.
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