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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 642798, 11 pages
Review Article

Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans: Structure-Function Relationship with Implication in Neural Development and Brain Disorders

1Anatomy, Animal Physiology and Biophysics Department, Faculty of Biology, University of Bucharest, 91-95th Independentei Street, 050095 Bucharest, Romania
2Norgenotech AS, Totenvegen 2049, 2848 Skreia, Norway
3Automatic Control and Systems Engineering Department, Faculty of Automatic Control and Computers, “Politehnica” University of Bucharest, 313th Independentei Street, 060042 Bucharest, Romania

Received 28 February 2014; Revised 28 April 2014; Accepted 28 April 2014; Published 14 May 2014

Academic Editor: Sun-On Chan

Copyright © 2014 Speranta Avram et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are extracellular matrix components that contain two structural parts with distinct functions: a protein core and glycosaminoglycan (GAG) side chains. CSPGs are known to be involved in important cell processes like cell adhesion and growth, receptor binding, or cell migration. It is recognized that the presence of CSPGs is critical in neuronal growth mechanisms including axon guidance following injury of nervous system components such as spinal cord and brain. CSPGs are upregulated in the central nervous system after injury and participate in the inhibition of axon regeneration mainly through their GAG side chains. Recently, it was shown that some CSPGs members like aggrecan, versican, and neurocan were strongly involved in brain disorders like bipolar disorder (BD), schizophrenia, and ADHD. In this paper, we present the chemical structure-biological functions relationship of CSPGs, both in health state and in genetic disorders, addressing methods represented by genome-wide and crystallographic data as well as molecular modeling and quantitative structure-activity relationship.