Chondroitin sulfates and their binding molecules in the central nervous system

Glycoconj J. 2017 Jun;34(3):363-376. doi: 10.1007/s10719-017-9761-z. Epub 2017 Jan 18.


Chondroitin sulfate (CS) is the most abundant glycosaminoglycan (GAG) in the central nervous system (CNS) matrix. Its sulfation and epimerization patterns give rise to different forms of CS, which enables it to interact specifically and with a significant affinity with various signalling molecules in the matrix including growth factors, receptors and guidance molecules. These interactions control numerous biological and pathological processes, during development and in adulthood. In this review, we describe the specific interactions of different families of proteins involved in various physiological and cognitive mechanisms with CSs in CNS matrix. A better understanding of these interactions could promote a development of inhibitors to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Keywords: Central nervous system; Chondroitin sulfate; Glycosaminoglycans; Perineuronal nets; Plasticity; Protein-glycosaminoglycan interactions; Proteoglycans.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbohydrate Conformation
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / chemistry*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / chemistry*
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / metabolism
  • Cytokines / chemistry
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / chemistry
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / chemistry*
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / chemistry*
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Midkine
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / chemistry*
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteoglycans / chemistry
  • Proteoglycans / metabolism
  • Receptor-Like Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / chemistry
  • Receptor-Like Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases / metabolism


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cytokines
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Proteoglycans
  • pleiotrophin
  • Midkine
  • Chondroitin Sulfates
  • Receptor-Like Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases