Extracellular matrix of the central nervous system: from neglect to challenge

Zimmermann, Dieter ; Dours-Zimmermann, María

In: Histochemistry and Cell Biology, 2008, vol. 130, no. 4, p. 635-653

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    The basic concept, that specialized extracellular matrices rich in hyaluronan, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (aggrecan, versican, neurocan, brevican, phosphacan), link proteins and tenascins (Tn-R, Tn-C) can regulate cellular migration and axonal growth and thus, actively participate in the development and maturation of the nervous system, has in recent years gained rapidly expanding experimental support. The swift assembly and remodeling of these matrices have been associated with axonal guidance functions in the periphery and with the structural stabilization of myelinated fiber tracts and synaptic contacts in the maturating central nervous system. Particular interest has been focused on the putative role of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in suppressing central nervous system regeneration after lesions. The axon growth inhibitory properties of several of these chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans in vitro, and the partial recovery of structural plasticity in lesioned animals treated with chondroitin sulfate degrading enzymes in vivo have significantly contributed to the increased awareness of this long time neglected structure