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J Neurotrauma. 2008 Apr;25(4):334-49. doi: 10.1089/neu.2007.0289.

Single, high-dose intraspinal injection of chondroitinase reduces glycosaminoglycans in injured spinal cord and promotes corticospinal axonal regrowth after hemisection but not contusion.

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W.M. Keck Center for Collaborative Neuroscience, Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA.


Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) inhibit axonal growth, and treatment with chondroitinase ABC promotes axonal regeneration in some models of central nervous system (CNS) injury. The aims of this study were (1) to compare the spatiotemporal appearance of CSPG expression between spinal cord contusion and hemisection models, and (2) to evaluate chondroitinase treatment effects on axonal regrowth in the two injury models. After hemisection, CSPG-immunoreactivity (IR) in the injury site rose to peak levels at 18 days but then decreased dramatically by 49 days; in contrast, CSPG-IR remained high for at least 49 days after contusion. After hemisection, many anterogradely labeled corticospinal tract (CST) axons remained close to CSPG-rich lesion sites, but after contusion, most CST axons retracted by approximately 1 mm rostral from the rostral-most CSPG-rich cyst. Intraspinal injection of chondroitinase at 0, 1, 2, and 4 weeks following injury dramatically reduced CSPG-IR in both injury models within 4 days, and CSPG-IR remained low for at least 3 weeks. After the chondroitinase treatment, many axons grew around the lesion site in hemisected spinal cords but not in contused spinal cords. We propose that improved axonal growth in hemisected spinal cords is due to decreased inhibition resulting from degradation of CSPGs located adjacent to severed CST axons. However, in spinal cord contusions, retracted CST axons fail to grow across gliotic regions that surround CSPG-rich injury sites despite efficient degradation with chondroitinase, suggesting that other inhibitors of axonal growth persist in the gliotic regions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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