• Krekoski CA, Neubauer D, Zuo J and Muir D (2001). Axonal regeneration into acellular nerve grafts is enhanced by degradation of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan. J Neurosci. 21 (16): 6206-13. Summary: Although the peripheral nerve has the potential to regenerate after injury, degenerative processes may be essential to promote axonal growth into the denervated nerve. One hypothesis is that the nerve contains growth inhibitors that must be neutralized after injury for optimal regeneration. In the present study, we tested whether degradation of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan, a known inhibitor of axon growth, enhances the growth-promoting properties of grafts prepared from normal donor nerves. Excised segments of rat sciatic nerve were made acellular by freeze-killing before treatment with chondroitinase ABC. Chondroitinase-dependent neoepitope immunolabeling showed that chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan was thoroughly degraded throughout the treated nerve segments. In addition, neuronal cryoculture assays revealed that the neurite-promoting activity of acellular nerves was significantly increased by chondroitinase treatment. Control and chondroitinase-treated acellular nerves were then used as interpositional grafts in a rat nerve injury model. Axonal regeneration into the grafts was assessed 4 and 8 d after implantation by growth-associated protein-43 immunolabeling. At both time points, the number of axons regenerating into acellular grafts treated with chondroitinase was severalfold greater than in control grafts. Growth into the chondroitinase-treated grafts was pronounced after only 4 d, suggesting that the delay of axonal growth normally associated with acellular grafts was attenuated as well. These findings indicate that chondroitinase treatment significantly enhanced the growth-promoting properties of freeze-killed donor nerve grafts. Combined with the low immunogenicity of acellular grafts, the ability to improve axonal penetration into interpositional grafts by preoperative treatment with chondroitinase may be a significant advancement for clinical nerve allografting. <http://www.jneurosci.org/cgi/content/full/21/16/6206
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/q...uids=11487643> Department of Neuroscience, University of Florida Brain Institute and College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida 32610-0296, USA.