Justin A. Beller, Diane M. Snow
Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center, The University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, USA
Proteoglycans in the central nervous system play integral roles as “traffic signals” for the direction of neurite outgrowth. This attribute of proteoglycans is a major factor in regeneration of the injured central nervous system. In this review, the structures of proteoglycans and the evidence suggesting their involvement in the response following spinal cord injury are presented. The review further describes the methods routinely used to determine the effect proteoglycans have on neurite outgrowth.
The effects of proteoglycans on neurite outgrowth are not completely understood as there is disagreement on what component of the molecule is interacting with growing neurites and this ambiguity is chronicled in an historical context. Finally, the most recent findings suggesting possible receptors, interactions, and sulfation patterns that may be important in eliciting the effect of proteoglycans on neurite outgrowth are discussed.
A greater understanding of the proteoglycan-neurite interaction is necessary for successfully promoting regeneration in the injured central nervous system. It is clear that PGs play an important role in the process of neurite outgrowth and contribute to the inability of the injured spinal cord to regenerate. With continued persistence, a clearer picture of the PG neurite interaction may lead to the ability to not only regenerate, but also rewire, the injured spinal cord and brain.
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Diane M. Snow, Ph.D., Professor of Neuroscience and Endowed Chair, Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC), UK College of Medicine, B-455 Biomedical and Biological Sciences Res Bldg (BBSRB), 741 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40536-0509, USA, firstname.lastname@example.org. doi:10.4103/1673-5374.128235 http://www.nrronline.org/