Lecticans are a family of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans, encompassing aggrecan, versican, neurocan and brevican. These proteoglycans are characterized by the presence of a hyaluronan-binding domain and a C-type lectin domain in their core proteins. Through these domains, lecticans interact with carbohydrate and protein ligands in the extracellular matrix and act as linkers of these extracellular matrix molecules. In adult brain, lecticans are thought to interact with hyaluronan and tenascin-R to form a ternary complex. We propose that the hyaluronan-lectican-tenascin-R complex constitutes the core assembly of the adult brain extracellular matrix, which is found mainly in pericellular spaces of neurons as 'perineuronal nets'.