Perineuronal nets (PNNs) are extracellular matrix structures consisting of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs), hyaluronan, link proteins and tenascin-R (Tn-R). They enwrap a subset of GABAergic inhibitory interneurons in the cerebral cortex and restrict experience-dependent cortical plasticity. While the expression profile of PNN components has been widely studied in many areas of the central nervous system of various animal species, it remains unclear how these components are expressed during the postnatal development of mouse primary visual cortex (V1). In the present study, we characterized the developmental time course of the formation of PNNs in the mouse primary visual cortex, using the specific antibodies against the two PNN component proteins aggrecan and tenascin-R, or the lectin Wisteria floribunda agglutinin (WFA) that directly binds to glycosaminoglycan chains of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPGs). We found that the fluorescence staining signals of both the WFA staining and the antibody against aggrecan rapidly increased in cortical neurons across layers 2-6 during postnatal days (PD) 10-28 and reached a plateau around PD42, suggesting a full construction of PNNs by the end of the critical period. Co-staining with antibodies to Ca(2+) binding protein parvalbumin (PV) demonstrated that the majority of PNN-surrounding cortical neurons are immunoreactive to PV. Similar expression profile of another PNN component tenascin-R was observed in the development of V1. Dark rearing of mice from birth significantly reduced the density of PNN-surrounding neurons. In addition, the expression of two recently identified CSPG receptors - Nogo receptor (NgR) and leukocyte common antigen-related phosphatase (LAR), showed significant increases from PD14 to PD70 in layer 2-6 of cortical PV-positive interneurons in normal reared mice, but decreased significantly in dark-reared ones. Taken together, these results suggest that PNNs form preferentially in cortical PV-positive interneurons in an experience-dependent manner, and reach full maturation around the end of the critical period of V1 development.
Keywords: CSPG receptor; CSPGs; Critical period plasticity; ECM; GABA; GAG; HA; LAR; Mouse visual cortex; NGS; NgR; OD; Otx2; PD; PFA; PNN(s); PV; Parvalbumin interneuron; Perineuronal net; Tn-R; V1; WFA; Wisteria floribunda agglutinin; chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans; extracellular matrix; glycosaminoglycan; hyaluronan; leukocyte common antigen-related phosphatase; nogo receptor; normal goat serum; ocular dominance; orthodenticle homeobox 2; paraformaldehyde; parvalbumin; perineuronal net(s); postnatal days; primary visual cortex; tenascin-R; γ-aminobutyric acid.
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