Chondroitinase treatment is a treatment of proteoglycans, a protein in the fluid among cells where (among other things) they affect neural activity (communication, plasticity). Chondroitinase treatment has been shown to allow adults vision to be restored as far as ocular dominance is concerned. Moreover, there is some evidence that Chondroitinase could be used for the treatment of spinal injuries.
In addition, the enzyme that is used in the Chondroitinase treatment, Chondroitinase ABC (ChABC), derives from the bacterium Proteus vulgaris. In recent years, pre-clinical research involving the ChABC enzyme has been mainly directed towards utilizing it as a way of treating spinal cord injuries in test animals using viral vectors. In general, the way ChABC works in vivo is it cleaves off the side chains of molecules known as Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans (CSPGs) which are over produced by glial cells in the central nervous system (CNS) when a spinal injury occurs. When CSPGs are bonded to their side chains called Chondroitin Sulfate Glycosaminoglycans (CS-GAG), these molecules are known to prevent neural restoration to the damaged region of the CNS because they form glial scar tissue which inhibits both neuroplasticity and repair of damaged axons.However, when the side chains of the CSPGs are cleaved by ChABC, this promotes the damaged region of the CNS to recover from the spinal cord injury.
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