After traumatic injury, peripheral nerves can spontaneously regenerate through highly sophisticated and dynamic processes that are regulated by multiple cellular elements and molecular factors. Despite evidence of morphological changes and of expression changes of a few regulatory genes, global knowledge of gene expression changes and related biological processes during peripheral nerve injury and regeneration is still lacking. Here we aimed to profile global mRNA expression changes in proximal nerve segments of adult rats after sciatic nerve transection. According to DNA microarray analysis, the huge number of genes was differentially expressed at different time points (0.5 h-14 d) post nerve transection, exhibiting multiple distinct temporal expression patterns. The expression changes of several genes were further validated by quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis. The gene ontology enrichment analysis was performed to decipher the biological processes involving the differentially expressed genes. Collectively, our results highlighted the dynamic change of the important biological processes and the time-dependent expression of key regulatory genes after peripheral nerve injury. Interestingly, we, for the first time, reported the presence of olfactory receptors in sciatic nerves. Hopefully, this study may provide a useful platform for deeply studying peripheral nerve injury and regeneration from a molecular-level perspective
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