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Neurosci Lett. 2012 Jun 25;519(2):115-21. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2012.02.025. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

Combination therapies in the CNS: engineering the environment.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University in St. Louis, 1 Brookings Dr. Box 1097, St. Louis, MO 63130, United States.


The inhibitory extracellular environment that develops in response to traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury hinders axon growth thereby limiting restoration of function. Several strategies have been developed to engineer a more permissive central nervous system (CNS) environment to promote regeneration and functional recovery. The multi-faced inhibitory nature of the CNS lesion suggests that therapies used in combination may be more effective. In this mini-review we summarize the most recent attempts to engineer the CNS extracellular environment after injury using combinatorial strategies. The advantages and limits of various combination therapies utilizing neurotrophin delivery, cell transplantation, and biomaterial scaffolds are discussed. Treatments that reduce the inhibition by chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, myelin-associated inhibitors, and other barriers to axon regeneration are also reviewed. Based on the current state of the field, future directions are suggested for research on combination therapies in the CNS.

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