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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans regulate the growth, differentiation and migration of multipotent neural precursor cells through the integrin signaling pathway

Wen-Li Gu12, Sai-Li Fu1, Yan-Xia Wang1, Ying Li1, He-Zuo Lü1, Xiao-Ming Xu13* and Pei-Hua Lu1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Neurobiology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200025, PR China

2 Department of Clinical Laboratory, No.9th People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai 200011, PR China

3 Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Group, Stark Neurosciences Research Institute, Department of Neurological Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA

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BMC Neuroscience 2009, 10:128  doi:10.1186/1471-2202-10-128

Published: 21 October 2009



Neural precursor cells (NPCs) are defined by their ability to proliferate, self-renew, and retain the potential to differentiate into neurons and glia. Deciphering the factors that regulate their behaviors will greatly aid in their use as potential therapeutic agents or targets. Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are prominent components of the extracellular matrix (ECM) in the central nervous system (CNS) and are assumed to play important roles in controlling neuronal differentiation and development.


In the present study, we demonstrated that CSPGs were constitutively expressed on the NPCs isolated from the E16 rat embryonic brain. When chondroitinase ABC was used to abolish the function of endogenous CSPGs on NPCs, it induced a series of biological responses including the proliferation, differentiation and migration of NPCs, indicating that CSPGs may play a critical role in NPC development and differentiation. Finally, we provided evidence suggesting that integrin signaling pathway may be involved in the effects of CSPGs on NPCs.


The present study investigating the influence and mechanisms of CSPGs on the differentiation and migration of NPCs should help us to understand the basic biology of NPCs during CNS development and provide new insights into developing new strategies for the treatment of the neurological disorders in the CNS.