Background: Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans are major inhibitory molecules for neural plasticity under both physiological and pathological conditions. The chondroitin sulfate degrading enzyme chondroitinase ABC promotes functional recovery after spinal cord injury, and restores experience-dependent plasticity, such as ocular dominance plasticity and fear erasure plasticity, in adult rodents. These data suggest that the sugar chain in a proteoglycan moiety is essential for the inhibitory activity of proteoglycans. However, the significance of the core protein has not been studied extensively. Furthermore, considering that chondroitinase ABC is derived from bacteria, a mammalian endogenous enzyme which can inactivate the proteoglycans' activity is desirable for clinical use.Methods: The degradation activity of ADAMTS-4 was estimated for the core proteins of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, that is, brevican, neurocan and phosphacan. To evaluate the biological significance of ADMATS-4 activity, an in vitro neurite growth assay and an in vivo neuronal injury model, spinal cord contusion injury, were employed.Results: ADAMTS-4 digested proteoglycans, and reversed their inhibition of neurite outgrowth. Local administration of ADAMTS-4 significantly promoted motor function recovery after spinal cord injury. Supporting these findings, the ADAMTS-4-treated spinal cord exhibited enhanced axonal regeneration/sprouting after spinal cord injury.Conclusions: Our data suggest that the core protein in a proteoglycan moiety is also important for the inhibition of neural plasticity, and provides a potentially safer tool for the treatment of neuronal injuries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience