Damage to the adult CNS often leads to persistent deficits due to the inability of mature axons to regenerate after injury. Mounting evidence suggests that the glial environment of the adult CNS, which includes inhibitory molecules in CNS myelin as well as proteoglycans associated with astroglial scarring, might present a major hurdle for successful axon regeneration. Here, we evaluate the molecular basis of these inhibitory influences and their contributions to the limitation of long-distance axon repair and other types of structural plasticity. Greater insight into glial inhibition is crucial for developing therapies to promote functional recovery after neural injury.
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