Chondroitin Sulfates Do Not Impede Axonal Regeneration in Goldfish Spinal Cord

Brain Res. 2017 Oct 15;1673:23-29. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2017.08.004. Epub 2017 Aug 8.


Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans produced in glial scar tissue are a major inhibitory factor for axonal regeneration after central nervous system injury in mammals. The inhibition is largely due to chondroitin sulfates, whose effects differ according to the sulfation pattern. In contrast to mammals, fish nerves spontaneously regenerate beyond the scar tissue after spinal cord injury, although the mechanisms that allow for axons to pass through the scar are unclear. Here, we used immunohistochemistry to examine the expression of two chondroitin sulfates with different sulfation variants at the lesion site in goldfish spinal cord. The intact spinal cord was immunoreactive for both chondroitin sulfate-A (CS-A) and chondroitin sulfate-C (CS-C), and CS-A immunoreactivity overlapped extensively with glial processes positive for glial fibrillary acidic protein. At 1week after inducing the spinal lesion, CS-A immunoreactivity was observed in the cell bodies and extracellular matrix, as well as in glial processes surrounding the lesion center. At 2weeks after the spinal lesion, regenerating axons entering the lesion center overtook the CS-A abundant area. In contrast, at 1week after lesion induction, CS-C immunoreactivity was significantly decreased, and at 2weeks after lesion induction, CS-C immunoreactivity was observed along the regenerating axons entering the lesion center. The present findings suggest that after spinal cord injury in goldfish, chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans are deposited in the extracellular matrix at the lesion site but do not form an impenetrable barrier to the growth of regenerating axons.

Keywords: Axonal regeneration; Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans; Fibrous scar; Spinal cord injury; Teleost.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Axons / pathology
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / metabolism*
  • Cicatrix / metabolism
  • Cicatrix / pathology
  • Fish Proteins / metabolism
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Goldfish
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Neuroglia / metabolism
  • Neuroglia / pathology
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism*
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / pathology
  • Spinal Cord Regeneration / physiology*


  • Fish Proteins
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Chondroitin Sulfates