Attenuation of the extracellular matrix increases the number of synapses but suppresses synaptic plasticity through upregulation of SK channels

Dembitskaya, Yulia; Gavrilov, Nikolay; Kraev, Igor; Doronin, Maxim; Tang, Yong; Li, Li and Semyanov, Alexey (2021). Attenuation of the extracellular matrix increases the number of synapses but suppresses synaptic plasticity through upregulation of SK channels. Cell Calcium, 96, article no. 102406.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceca.2021.102406

Abstract

The effect of brain extracellular matrix (ECM) on synaptic plasticity remains controversial. Here, we show that targeted enzymatic attenuation with chondroitinase ABC (ChABC) of ECM triggers the appearance of new glutamatergic synapses on hippocampal pyramidal neurons, thereby increasing the amplitude of field EPSPs while decreasing both the mean miniature EPSC amplitude and AMPA/NMDA ratio. Although the increased proportion of ‘unpotentiated’ synapses caused by ECM attenuation should promote long-term potentiation (LTP), surprisingly, LTP was suppressed. The upregulation of small conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels decreased the excitability of pyramidal neurons, thereby suppressing LTP. A blockade of SK channels restored cell excitability and enhanced LTP; this enhancement was abolished by a blockade of Rho-associated protein kinase (ROCK), which is involved in the maturation of dendritic spines. Thus, targeting ECM elicits the appearance of new synapses, which can have potential applications in regenerative medicine. However, this process is compensated for by a reduction in postsynaptic neuron excitability, preventing network overexcitation at the expense of synaptic plasticity.

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