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J Comp Neurol. 2000 Aug 28;424(3):532-46.

Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan expression pattern in hippocampal development: potential regulation of axon tract formation.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0298, USA.


A variety of molecular influences in the extracellular matrix (ECM) interact with developing axons to guide the formation of hippocampal axon pathways. One of these influences may be chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs), which are known to inhibit axonal extension during development and following central nervous system injury. In this study, we examined the role of CSPGs and cell adhesion molecules in the regulation of axon tract formation during hippocampal development. We used indirect immunofluorescence to examine the developmental pattern of CSPG expression relative to axon tracts that express the cell adhesion molecule L1. Additionally, we used dissociated and explant cell cultures to examine the effects of CSPGs on hippocampal axon development in vitro. In vivo, we found that the CSPG neurocan is expressed throughout the alveus, neuropil layers, and parts of the dentate gyrus from E16 to P2. The CSPG phosphacan is expressed primarily in the neuropil layers at postnatal stages. After E18, intense labeling of neurocan was observed in regions of the alveus surrounding L1-expressing axon fascicles. In vitro, axons from brain regions that project through the alveus during development would not grow across CSPG substrata, in a concentration-dependent manner. In addition, hippocampal axons from dissociated neuron cultures only traveled across CSPG substrata as fasciculated axon bundles. These findings implicate CSPG in the regulation of axon trajectory and fasciculation during hippocampal axon tract formation.

Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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