Abnormalities of synapses and neurons in the hippocampus of neuropsin-deficient mice

Mol Cell Neurosci. 2001 Mar;17(3):600-10. doi: 10.1006/mcne.2000.0945.


In the present study, we produced null-mutant mice of neuropsin, an extracellular matrix serine protease, to examine the neural functions of this protein particularly in the hippocampus. Golgi-Cox impregnation and Nissl-staining revealed morphological change of cell soma in the mutant mice compared to wild-type mice. However, Golgi-Cox impregnation revealed no apparent change in the dendritic arborization and spine density. Quantitative electronmicroscopic analysis revealed that number of asymmetrical synapses were significantly decreased in the stratum radiatum, the major terminal field of Schaffer-collaterals, whereas free boutons still holding synaptic vesicles but with no synaptic specialization were increased in number in the same microscopic fields. An increased number of parvalbumin-immunoreactive cells (known as fast spiking cells) in mutant was also observed. These results strongly suggest that neuropsin is involved in connectivity of a group of CA1 synapses and consequently in the hippocampal networking.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / analysis
  • Cadherins / immunology
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins / genetics
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / analysis
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / immunology
  • Hippocampus / abnormalities
  • Hippocampus / pathology*
  • Interneurons / chemistry
  • Interneurons / enzymology
  • Interneurons / pathology
  • Isoenzymes / analysis
  • Isoenzymes / immunology
  • Kallikreins*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Parvalbumins / analysis
  • Parvalbumins / immunology
  • Pyramidal Cells / chemistry
  • Pyramidal Cells / enzymology
  • Pyramidal Cells / pathology*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / genetics*
  • Silver Staining
  • Synapses / chemistry
  • Synapses / pathology*


  • Cadherins
  • Extracellular Matrix Proteins
  • Isoenzymes
  • Parvalbumins
  • KLK8 protein, human
  • Kallikreins
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 1