The destruction of the extracellular matrix by inflammatory processes may induce neuronal dysfunction and accelerate neurodegeneration. We describe that chondroitin sulphate proteoglycan-immunoreactive perineuronal nets and the enwrapped interneurons persisted 2 weeks after trimethyltin intoxication of rats (TMT, 8 mg/kg, i.p.) in all regions of the severely affected hippocampus and dentate gyrus, whereas the diffuse immunoreactivity around the CA2 pyramidal cells was reduced. Fluoro-Jade staining of degenerating neurons and staining of microglia by Griffonia simplicifolia agglutinin showed that net-associated neurons survived in the vicinity of damaged pyramidal cells and that perineuronal nets were not removed by activated microglia. We conclude that the extracellular matrix of perineuronal nets resists destruction after TMT treatment in the inflamed neural tissue. A permanent reconstitution of matrix components may be one of the factors that may support the viability of distinct types of neurons during neurodegenerative diseases.
Copyright 2002 Elsevier Science B.V.