Deoxyribozyme-mediated knockdown of xylosyltransferase-1 mRNA promotes axon growth in the adult rat spinal cord

Andres Hurtado, Heidrun Podinin, Martin Oudega, Barbara Grimpe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


In the injured spinal cord, proteoglycans (PGs) within scar tissue obstruct axon growth through their glycosaminoglycan (GAG)-side chains. The formation of GAG-side chains (glycosylation) is catalysed by xylosyltransferase-1 (XT-1). Here, we knocked down XT-1 mRNA using a tailored deoxyribozyme (DNAXTas) and hypothesized that this would decrease the amount of glycosylated PGs and, consequently, promote axon growth in the adult rat spinal cord. A continuous 2-week delivery of DNAXTas near the rostral border of a peripheral nerve graft bridging the transected dorsal columns in the thoracic spinal cord resulted in an 81% decrease in XT-1 mRNA, an average of 1.4-fold reduction in GAG-side chains of chondroitin sulphate or heparan sulphate-PGs and 2.2-fold reduction in neurocan and brevican core proteins in scar tissue. Additionally, compared to control deoxyribozyme, the DNAXTas treatment resulted in a 9-fold increase in length and a 4-fold increase in density of ascending axons growing through the nerve graft and scar tissue present at the rostral spinal cord. Together our data showed that treatment with a deoxyribozyme against XT-1 mRNA decreased the amount of glycosylated PGs and promoted axon growth through scar tissue in the injured spinal cord. The deoxyribozyme approach may become a contributing factor in spinal cord repair strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2596-2605
Number of pages10
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Brevican
  • DNA enzyme
  • Neurocan
  • Scar
  • XT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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