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Glia. 2011 Jun;59(6):981-96. doi: 10.1002/glia.21170. Epub 2011 Mar 31.

Targeted downregulation of N-acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase significantly mitigates chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan-mediated inhibition.

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Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.


Chondroitin sulfate-4,6 (CS-E) glycosaminoglycan (GAG) upregulation in astroglial scars is a major contributor to chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan (CSPG)-mediated inhibition [Gilbert et al. (2005) Mol Cell Neurosci 29:545–558]. However, the role of N-acetylgalactosamine 4-sulfate 6-O-sulfotransferase (GalNAc4S6ST) catalyzed sulfation of CS-E, and its contribution to CSPG-mediated inhibition of CNS regeneration remains to be fully elucidated. Here, we used in situ hybridization to show localized upregulation of GalNAc4S6ST mRNA after CNS injury. Using in vitro spot assays with immobilized CS-E, we demonstrate dose-dependent inhibition of rat embryonic day 18 (E18) cortical neurons. To determine whether selective downregulation of CS-E affected the overall inhibitory character of extracellular matrix produced by reactive astrocytes, single [against (chondroitin 4) sulfotransferase 11 (C4ST1) or GalNAc4S6ST mRNA] or double [against C4ST1 and GalNAc4S6ST mRNA] siRNA treatments were conducted and assayed using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and high-performance liquid chromatography to confirm the specific downregulation of CS-4S GAG (CS-A) and CS-E. Spot and Bonhoeffer stripe assays using astrocyte-conditioned media from siRNA-treated rat astrocytes showed a significant decrease in inhibition of neuronal attachment and neurite extensions when compared with untreated and TGF-treated astrocytes. These findings reveal that selective attenuation of CS-E via siRNA targeting of GalNAc4S6ST significantly mitigates CSPG-mediated inhibition of neurons, potentially offering a novel intervention strategy for CNS injury.

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