Inhibition with a double positive effect
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Spinal cord injury triggers an aggressive immune response, which is meant to first contain the damage and then heal the tissues. Paradoxically, while this immune reaction is vital for proper healing, its effect can become counterproductive. To prevent these negative aspects, the body needs to resolve the immune reaction. Unfortunately, resolution failure is particularly problematic after spinal cord injury.
Impact of Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans
Scientist have discovered that Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) inhibit the ending of the inflammation reaction that is heavily contributing to a massive cell destructing CSPGs are already known as major contributors of regeneration failure after injury, because they play a decisive role in scar formation.
CSPGs and inflammation
An international collaboration between groups located in the UK, Spain, Germany, USA, and the Netherlands led to this surprising discovery. Together with other experiments it was shown that CSPGs lead to a prolonged inflammation and irreversible tissue destruction. The group around E. Bradbury demonstrated that removing CSPGs led to faster and more effective inflammation resolution after injury.
This approach is promising to get regeneration started. For example, bacterial enzymes could inactive CSPGs by splitting them up.
This study was published in the journal Nature Neuroscience and was supported by Wings for Life.
Source: Francos-Quijorna I, Sánchez-Petidier M, Burnside ER, et al. Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans prevent immune cell phenotypic conversion and inflammation resolution via TLR4 in rodent models of spinal cord injury. Nat Commun. 2022;13(1):2933. Published 2022 May 25. doi:10.1038/s41467-022-30467-5.
You can find out more on the spinal cord and the influence of its damage on the human body in our basic-information. Wings for Life Glossary gives an understanding of scientific terms.