Disturbance of perineuronal nets in the perilesional area after photothrombosis is not associated with neuronal death

Perineuronal nets (PNNs) are a condensed form of extracellular matrix that covers the surface of a subset of neurons. Their presence limits neuronal plasticity and may protect neurons against harmful agents. Here we analyzed the relationship between spatiotemporal changes in PNN expression and cell death markers after focal cortical photothrombotic stroke in rats. We registered a substantial decrease in PNN density using Wisteria floribunda agglutinin staining and CAT-315 and brevican immunoreactivity; the decrease occurred not only in the lesion core but also in the perilesional and remote cortex as well as in homotopic contralateral cortical regions. Fluoro Jade C and TUNEL staining in perilesional and remote areas, however, showed a low density of dying cells. Our results suggest that the PNN reduction was not a result of cellular death and could be considered an attempt to create conditions favorable for synaptic remodeling.

24 January 2012