Inhibitory molecules associated with myelin and the glial scar limit axon regeneration in the adult central nervous system (CNS), but the underlying signaling mechanisms of regeneration inhibition are not fully understood. Here, we show that suppressing the kinase function of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) blocks the activities of both myelin inhibitors and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in inhibiting neurite outgrowth. In addition, regeneration inhibitors trigger the phosphorylation of EGFR in a calcium-dependent manner. Local administration of EGFR inhibitors promotes significant regeneration of injured optic nerve fibers, pointing to a promising therapeutic avenue for enhancing axon regeneration after CNS injury.
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