The extracellular environment of the CNS: influence on plasticity, sprouting, and axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury

Shmma Quraishe, Lindsey H. Forbes, Melissa R. Andrews

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The extracellular environment of the central nervous system (CNS) becomes highly structured and organized as the nervous system matures. The extracellular space of the CNS along with its subdomains plays a crucial role in the function and stability of the CNS. In this review, we have focused on two components of the neuronal extracellular environment, which are important in regulating CNS plasticity including the extracellular matrix (ECM) and myelin. The ECM consists of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) and tenascins, which are organized into unique structures called perineuronal nets (PNNs). PNNs associate with the neuronal cell body and proximal dendrites of predominantly parvalbumin-positive interneurons, forming a robust lattice-like structure. These developmentally regulated structures are maintained in the adult CNS and enhance synaptic stability. After injury, however, CSPGs and tenascins contribute to the structure of the inhibitory glial scar, which actively prevents axonal regeneration. Myelin sheaths and mature adult oligodendrocytes, despite their important role in signal conduction in mature CNS axons, contribute to the inhibitory environment existing after injury. As such, unlike the peripheral nervous system, the CNS is unable to revert to a “developmental state” to aid neuronal repair. Modulation of these external factors, however, has been shown to promote growth, regeneration, and functional plasticity after injury. This review will highlight some of the factors that contribute to or prevent plasticity, sprouting, and axonal regeneration after spinal cord injury.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2952386
Number of pages18
JournalNeural Plasticity
Volume2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2018

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