Diverse cellular and molecular modes of axon degeneration

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Freeman Lab

Publication Date


Document Type



Cell Biology | Molecular Biology | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


The elimination of large portions of axons is a widespread event in the developing and diseased nervous system. Subsets of axons are selectively destroyed to help fine-tune neural circuit connectivity during development. Axonal degeneration is also an early feature of nearly all neurodegenerative diseases, occurs after most neural injuries, and is a primary driver of functional impairment in patients. In this review we discuss the diversity of cellular mechanisms by which axons degenerate. Initial molecular characterization highlights some similarities in their execution but also argues that unique genetic programs modulate each mode of degeneration. Defining these pathways rigorously will provide new targets for therapeutic intervention after neural injury or in neurodegenerative disease.


Wallerian degeneration, axon degeneration, axon retraction, axosome shedding, glia, pruning

DOI of Published Version



Trends Cell Biol. 2014 Sep;24(9):515-23. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2014.04.003. Epub 2014 Apr 27. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Trends in cell biology

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID