DNA damage response in peripheral nervous system: Coping with cancer therapy-induced DNA lesions

Ella W. Englander

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


In the absence of blood brain barrier (BBB) the DNA of peripheral nervous system (PNS) neurons is exposed to a broader spectrum of endogenous and exogenous threats compared to that of the central nervous system (CNS). Hence, while CNS and PNS neurons cope with many similar challenges inherent to their high oxygen consumption and vigorous metabolism, PNS neurons are also exposed to circulating toxins and inflammatory mediators due to relative permeability of PNS blood nerve barrier (BNB). Consequently, genomes of PNS neurons incur greater damage and the question awaiting investigation is whether specialized repair mechanisms for maintenance of DNA integrity have evolved to meet the additional needs of PNS neurons. Here, I review data showing how PNS neurons manage collateral DNA damage incurred in the course of different anti-cancer treatments designed to block DNA replication in proliferating tumor cells. Importantly, while PNS neurotoxicity and concomitant chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) are among major dose limiting barriers in achieving therapy goals, CIPN is partially reversible during post-treatment nerve recovery. Clearly, cell recovery necessitates mobilization of the DNA damage response and underscores the need for systematic investigation of the scope of DNA repair capacities in the PNS to help predict post-treatment risks to recovering neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)685-690
Number of pages6
JournalDNA Repair
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Base excision repair (BER)
  • Blood brain barrier (BBB)
  • Blood nerve barrier (BNB)
  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN)
  • Cisplatin cross-links
  • Cytosine arabinoside (ara-C)
  • Dorsal root ganglion (DRG)
  • Ionizing radiation (IR)
  • Nucleotide excision repair (NER)
  • Peripheral nervous system (PNS)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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