Date: 15 Dec 2012

Teleost Fish as a Model System to Study Successful Regeneration of the Central Nervous System

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Traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury are devastating conditions that may result in death or long-term disability. A promising strategy for the development of effective cell replacement therapies involves the study of regeneration-competent organisms. Among this group, teleost fish are distinguished by their excellent potential to regenerate nervous tissue and to regain function after injury to the central nervous system. In this chapter, we summarize our current understanding of the cellular processes that mediate this regenerative potential, and we show that several of these processes are shared with the normal development of the intact central nervous system; we describe how the spontaneous self-repair of the teleostean central nervous system leads to functional recovery, at physiological and behavioral levels; we discuss the possible function of molecular factors associated with the degenerative and regenerative processes after injury; and, finally, we speculate on evolutionary aspects of adult neurogenesis and neuronal regeneration, and on how a better understanding of these aspects could catalyze the development of therapeutic strategies to overcome the regenerative limits of the mammalian CNS.