Although crushed axons in a dorsal spinal root normally regenerate more slowly than peripheral axons, their regeneration can be accelerated by a conditioning lesion to the corresponding peripheral nerve. These and other observations indicate that injury to peripheral sensory axons triggers changes in their nerve cell bodies that contribute to axonal regeneration. To investigate mechanisms of activating nerve cell bodies, an inflammatory reaction was provoked in rat dorsal root ganglia (DRG) through injection of Corynebacterium parvum. This inflammation enhanced regeneration in the associated dorsal root, increasing 4-fold the number of regenerating fibers 17 d after crushing; peripheral nerve regeneration was not accelerated. A milder stimulation of dorsal root regeneration was detected after direct injection of isogenous macrophages into the ganglion. It is concluded that changes favorable to axonal regeneration can be induced by products of inflammatory cells acting in the vicinity of the nerve cell body. Satellite glial cells and other unidentified cells in lumbar DRG were shown by thymidine radioautography to proliferate after sciatic nerve transection or injection of C. parvum into the ganglia. Intrathecal infusion of mitomycin C suppressed axotomy-induced mitosis of satellite glial cells but did not impede axonal regeneration in the dorsal root or the peripheral nerve. Nevertheless, the similarity in reactions of satellite glial cells during 2 processes that activate neurons adds indirect support to the idea that non-neuronal cells in the DRG might influence regenerative responses of primary sensory neurons.