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Molecules 2015, 20(3), 3527-3548;

Glycosaminoglycans and Glycomimetics in the Central Nervous System

John van Geest Centre for Brain Repair, University of Cambridge, Forvie Site, Robinson Way, Cambridge CB2 0PY, UK
Proteoglycan Signaling and Therapeutics Research Group, Graduate School of Life Science, Faculty of Advanced Life Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo 001-0021, Japan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vito Ferro
Received: 22 January 2015 / Revised: 9 February 2015 / Accepted: 13 February 2015 / Published: 19 February 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Glycosaminoglycans and Their Mimetics)
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With recent advances in the construction of synthetic glycans, selective targeting of the extracellular matrix (ECM) as a potential treatment for a wide range of diseases has become increasingly popular. The use of compounds that mimic the structure or bioactive function of carbohydrate structures has been termed glycomimetics. These compounds are mostly synthetic glycans or glycan-binding constructs which manipulate cellular interactions. Glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) are major components of the ECM and exist as a diverse array of differentially sulphated disaccharide units. In the central nervous system (CNS), they are expressed by both neurons and glia and are crucial for brain development and brain homeostasis. The inherent diversity of GAGs make them an essential biological tool for regulating a complex range of cellular processes such as plasticity, cell interactions and inflammation. They are also involved in the pathologies of various neurological disorders, such as glial scar formation and psychiatric illnesses. It is this diversity of functions and potential for selective interventions which makes GAGs a tempting target. In this review, we shall describe the molecular make-up of GAGs and their incorporation into the ECM of the CNS. We shall highlight the different glycomimetic strategies that are currently being used in the nervous system. Finally, we shall discuss some possible targets in neurological disorders that may be addressed using glycomimetics. View Full-Text
Keywords: glycomimetics; glycosaminoglycans; central nervous system glycomimetics; glycosaminoglycans; central nervous system
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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Rowlands, D.; Sugahara, K.; Kwok, J.C.F. Glycosaminoglycans and Glycomimetics in the Central Nervous System. Molecules 2015, 20, 3527-3548.

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