The endogenous proteoglycan-degrading enzyme ADAMTS-4 promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury

Background
Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans are major inhibitory molecules for neural plasticity under both physiological and pathological conditions. The chondroitin sulfate degrading enzyme chondroitinase ABC promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury, and restores experience-dependent plasticity, such as ocular dominance plasticity and fear erasure plasticity, in adult rodents. These data suggest that the sugar chain in a proteoglycan moiety is essential for the inhibitory activity of proteoglycans. However, the significance of the core protein has not been studied extensively. Furthermore, considering that chondroitinase ABC is derived from bacteria, a mammalian endogenous enzyme which can inactivate the proteoglycans’ activity is desirable for clinical use.

Methods
The degradation activity of ADAMTS-4 was estimated for the core proteins of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, that is, brevican, neurocan and phosphacan. To evaluate the biological significance of ADMATS-4 activity, an in vitro neurite growth assay and an in vivo neuronal injury model, spinal cord contusion injury, were employed.

Results
ADAMTS-4 digested proteoglycans, and reversed their inhibition of neurite outgrowth. Local administration of ADAMTS-4 significantly promoted motor function recovery after spinal cord injury. Supporting these findings, the ADAMTS-4-treated spinal cord exhibited enhanced axonal regeneration/sprouting after spinal cord injury.

Conclusions
Our data suggest that the core protein in a proteoglycan moiety is also important for the inhibition of neural plasticity, and provides a potentially safer tool for the treatment of neuronal injuries.

http://www.jneuroinflammation.com/content/9/1/53

Ryoji Tauchi1,2, Shiro Imagama1,2, Takamitsu Natori1, Tomohiro Ohgomori1, Akio Muramoto1,2, Ryuichi Shinjo1,2, Yukihiro Matsuyama3, Naoki Ishiguro2 and Kenji Kadomatsu1*

* Corresponding author: Kenji Kadomatsu kkadoma@med.nagoya-u.ac.jp

Author Affiliations
1 Department of Biochemistry, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, 65 Tsurumai-cho, Showa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 466-8550, Japan
2 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, 65 Tsurumai-cho, Showa-ku, Nagoya, Aichi 466-8550, Japan
3 Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1 Handayama, Higashi-ku, Hamamatsu, Shizuoka 431-3192, Japan
Journal of Neuroinflammation 2012, 9:53 doi:10.1186/1742-2094-9-53

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