The precise contribution of different CS-GAGs to CSPG-mediated inhibition of axonal growth after CNS injury is unknown. Quantification of the CS-GAGs in uninjured and injured brain (scar tissue) using fluorophore-assisted carbohydrate electrophoresis (FACE) demonstrated that the dominant CS-GAG in the uninjured brain is CS-4 whereas, in glial scar, CS-2, CS-6, and CS-4,6 were over-expressed. To determine if the pattern of sulfation influenced neurite extension, we compared the effects of CS-GAGs with dominant CS-4, CS-6, or CS-4,6 sulfation to intact CSPG (aggrecan), chondroitin (CS-0), and hyaluronan on chick DRG neurite outgrowth. We report that CS-4,6 GAG, one of the upregulated CS-GAGs in astroglial scar, is potently inhibitory and is comparable to intact aggrecan, a CSPG with known inhibitory properties. Thus, a specific CS-GAG that is differentially over-expressed in astroglial scar is a potent inhibitor of neurite extension. These results may influence the design of more specific strategies to enhance CNS regeneration after injury.
Mol. Cell. Neurosci.29, 545–558 (2005).