The aim of the present study was to examine the roles of l-fucose and the glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) keratan sulfate (KS) and chondroitin sulfate/dermatan sulfate (CS/DS) with selected functional molecules in neural tissues. Cell surface glycans and GAGs have evolved over millions of years to become cellular mediators which regulate fundamental aspects of cellular survival. The glycocalyx, which surrounds all cells, actuates responses to growth factors, cytokines and morphogens at the cellular boundary, silencing or activating downstream signaling pathways and gene expression. In this review, we have focused on interactions mediated by l-fucose, KS and CS/DS in the central and peripheral nervous systems. Fucose makes critical contributions in the area of molecular recognition and information transfer in the blood group substances, cytotoxic immunoglobulins, cell fate-mediated Notch-1 interactions, regulation of selectin-mediated neutrophil extravasation in innate immunity and CD-34-mediated new blood vessel development, and the targeting of neuroprogenitor cells to damaged neural tissue. Fucosylated glycoproteins regulate delivery of synaptic neurotransmitters and neural function. Neural KS proteoglycans (PGs) were examined in terms of cellular regulation and their interactive properties with neuroregulatory molecules. The paradoxical properties of CS/DS isomers decorating matrix and transmembrane PGs and the positive and negative regulatory cues they provide to neurons are also discussed.

You do not currently have access to this content.