Sustained delivery of thermostabilized chABC enhances axonal sprouting and functional recovery after spinal cord injury.
Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are a major class of axon growth inhibitors that are up-regulated after spinal cord injury (SCI) and contribute to regenerative failure. Chondroitinase ABC (chABC) digests glycosaminoglycan chains on CSPGs and can thereby overcome CSPG-mediated inhibition. But chABC loses its enzymatic activity rapidly at 37 degrees C, necessitating the use of repeated injections or local infusions for a period of days to weeks. These infusion systems are invasive, infection-prone, and clinically problematic. To overcome this limitation, we have thermostabilized chABC and developed a system for its sustained local delivery in vivo, obviating the need for chronically implanted catheters and pumps. Thermostabilized chABC remained active at 37 degrees C in vitro for up to 4 weeks. CSPG levels remained low in vivo up to 6 weeks post-SCI when thermostabilized chABC was delivered by a hydrogel-microtube scaffold system. Axonal growth and functional recovery following the sustained local release of thermostabilized chABC versus a single treatment of unstabilized chABC demonstrated significant differences in CSPG digestion. Animals treated with thermostabilized chABC in combination with sustained neurotrophin-3 delivery showed significant improvement in locomotor function and enhanced growth of cholera toxin B subunit-positive sensory axons and sprouting of serotonergic fibers. Therefore, improving chABC thermostability facilitates minimally invasive, sustained, local delivery of chABC that is potentially effective in overcoming CSPG-mediated regenerative failure. Combination therapy with thermostabilized chABC with neurotrophic factors enhances axonal regrowth, sprouting, and functional recovery after SCI.
Lee, H; McKeon, RJ; Bellamkonda, RV
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