Decorin promotes robust axon growth on inhibitory CSPGs and myelin via a direct effect on neurons

Kenneth Minor, Xiufeng Tang, Genevieve Kahrilas, Simon J. Archibald, Jeannette E. Davies, Stephen J. Davies

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Inhibitory chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) and myelin-associated molecules are major impediments to axon regeneration within the adult central nervous system (CNS). Decorin infusion can however suppress the levels of multiple inhibitory CSPGs and promote axon growth across spinal cord injuries [Davies, J.E., Tang, X., Denning, J.W., Archibald, S.J., and Davies, S.J., 2004. Decorin suppresses neurocan, brevican, phosphacan and NG2 expression and promotes axon growth across adult rat spinal cord injuries. Eur. J. Neurosci. 19, 1226-1242]. A question remained as to whether decorin can also increase axon growth on inhibitory CSPGs and myelin via a direct effect on neurons. We have therefore conducted an in vitro analysis of neurite extension by decorin-treated adult dorsal root ganglion (DRG) neurons cultured on substrates of inhibitory CSPGs or myelin membranes mixed with laminin. Decorin treatment promoted 14.5 and 5-fold increases in average neurite length/neuron over untreated controls on CSPGs or myelin membranes respectively. In addition to suppressing inhibitory scar formation, our present data shows that decorin can directly boost the ability of neurons to extend axons within CSPG or myelin rich environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-95
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Axon regeneration
  • Chondroitin surfate proteoglycans
  • Decorin
  • Dorsal root ganglia
  • Mag
  • Myelin associated inhibitors
  • Neurite outgrowth
  • NOGO-A
  • OMgp

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