The scarring response after a penetrant central nervous system injury results from the interaction between invading leptominingeal/pericyte-derived fibroblasts and endogenous reactive astrocytes about the wound margin. Extracellular matrix and scar-derived axon growth inhibitory molecules fill the lesion site providing both a physical and chemical barrier to regenerating axons. Decorin, a small leucine-rich chondroitin-dermatan sulphate proteoglycan expressed by neurons and astrocytes in the central nervous system, is both anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory and attenuates the formation and partial dissolution of established and chronic scars. Here, we discuss the potential of using Decorin to antagonise scarring in the central nervous system.
Keywords: Decorin; chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan; matrix metalloproteases; scarring; spinal cord injury; transforming growth factor-beta.