Chondroitin sulfate glycosaminoglycans for CNS homeostasis-implications for material design

Curr Med Chem. 2014;21(37):4257-81. doi: 10.2174/0929867321666140815124447.


Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are complex biomolecules that are known to facilitate patterning of axonal direction and cell migration during the early growth and development phase of the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). In adults, they continue to control neuronal plasticity as major constituents of the "peri-neuronal nets" (PNNs) that surround adult CNS neurons. CSPGs are also barrier-forming molecules that are selectively upregulated by invading reactive astroglia after injury to the CNS, and are responsible for the active repulsion of regenerating neurons post-injury. Recent evidence however suggests that the diverse sulfated glycosaminoglycan (GAG) side chains attached to CSPGs are key components that play paradoxical roles in influencing nerve regeneration post-injury to the CNS. Sulfated GAG repeats attached to the CSPG core protein help mediate cell migration, neuritogenesis, axonal pathfinding, and axonal repulsion by directly trapping and presenting a whole host of growth factors to cells locally, or by binding to specific membrane bound proteins on the cell surface to influence cellular function. In this review, we will present the current gamut of interventional strategies used to bridge CNS deficits, and discuss the potential advantages of using sulfated GAG based biomaterials to facilitate the repair and regeneration of the injured CNS.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans / chemistry*
  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans / pharmacology*
  • Drug Design*
  • Homeostasis / drug effects*
  • Humans


  • Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans