RNA-induced inflammation and migration of precursor neurons initiates neuronal circuit regeneration in zebrafish

Celia Vandestadt, Gilles C. Vanwalleghem, Mitra Amiri Khabooshan, Alon M. Douek, Hozana Andrade Castillo, Mei Li, Keith Schulze, Emily Don, Sebastian Alexander Stamatis, Madara Ratnadiwakara, Minn- Liisa Änkö, Ethan K. Scott, Jan Kaslin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Tissue regeneration and functional restoration after injury are considered as stem- and progenitor-cell-driven processes. In the central nervous system, stem cell-driven repair is slow and problematic because function needs to be restored rapidly for vital tasks. In highly regenerative vertebrates, such as zebrafish, functional recovery is rapid, suggesting a capability for fast cell production and functional integration. Surprisingly, we found that migration of dormant “precursor neurons” to the injury site pioneers functional circuit regeneration after spinal cord injury and controls the subsequent stem-cell-driven repair response. Thus, the precursor neurons make do before the stem cells make new. Furthermore, RNA released from the dying or damaged cells at the site of injury acts as a signal to attract precursor neurons for repair. Taken together, our data demonstrate an unanticipated role of neuronal migration and RNA as drivers of neural repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2364-2380.e8
Number of pages25
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2021


  • adult neurogenesis
  • dsRNA
  • epimorphic
  • innate immunity
  • morphallactic
  • neural stem cell
  • repair
  • spinal cord
  • SRC
  • TLR3

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