Spatiotemporal expression patterns of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan mRNAs in the developing rat brain

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Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs) are pluripotent components of the extracellular matrix in the brain. Although previous studies have examined the developmental change in certain CSPGs in the whole brain, no known systematic studies have been carried out on the temporal or spatial expression of CSPGs. Here, we used quantitative real-time PCR to examine the CSPG mRNAs expression in the postnatal developing rat brain starting from postnatal day 5–42, mainly focusing on the parietal cortex, hippocampus, and corpus callosum. Results were further verified by immunohistochemistry. Our results showed that aggrecan, brevican, phosphacan, and NG2 generally showed upregulation across developmental stages in all three regions. Neurocan showed a rapid increase until postnatal day 10 in all three regions. Versican, however, showed a sharp decrease until postnatal day 10. Cross-region analysis showed higher expression of most CSPG members in the corpus callosum during later stages of development. Further immunohistochemistry staining confirmed our results by showing prominent CSPGs protein expression in the corpus callosum. In summary, our study reported specific temporal-expression and spatial-expression patterns of the CSPGs species. These results are consistent with the known roles of these members in neurodevelopment. The current study provided clues for the development of CSPGs as potential treatment targets in neurodevelopmental disorders.

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