Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) act as potent inhibitors of axonal growth and neuroplasticity after spinal cord injury (SCI). Here we reveal that CSPGs also play a critical role in preventing inflammation resolution by blocking the conversion of pro-inflammatory immune cells to a pro-repair phenotype in rodent models of SCI. We demonstrate that enzymatic digestion of CSPG glycosaminoglycans enhances immune cell clearance and reduces pro-inflammatory protein and gene expression profiles at key resolution time points. Analysis of phenotypically distinct immune cell clusters revealed CSPG-mediated modulation of macrophage and microglial subtypes which, together with T lymphocyte infiltration and composition changes, suggests a role for CSPGs in modulating both innate and adaptive immune responses after SCI. Mechanistically, CSPG activation of a pro-inflammatory phenotype in pro-repair immune cells was found to be TLR4-dependent, identifying TLR4 signalling as a key driver of CSPG-mediated immune modulation. These findings establish CSPGs as critical mediators of inflammation resolution failure after SCI in rodents, which leads to prolonged inflammatory pathology and irreversible tissue destruction.
- Chondroitin Sulfate Proteoglycans/metabolism
- Spinal Cord Injuries/pathology
- Toll-Like Receptor 4/genetics