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Papers of the Week

Papers: 27 Apr 2024 - 3 May 2024

2024 Apr 12

Int J Mol Sci




Link Protein 1 Is Involved in the Activity-Dependent Modulation of Perineuronal Nets in the Spinal Cord.


Sánchez-Ventura J, Lago N, Penas C, Navarro X, Udina E


One of the challenges of the mature nervous system is to maintain the stability of neural networks while providing a degree of plasticity to generate experience-dependent modifications. This plasticity-stability dynamism is regulated by perineuronal nets (PNNs) and is crucial for the proper functioning of the system. Previously, we found a relation between spinal PNNs reduction and maladaptive plasticity after spinal cord injury (SCI), which was attenuated by maintaining PNNs with activity-dependent therapies. Moreover, transgenic mice lacking the cartilage link protein 1 ( KO mice) showed aberrant spinal PNNs and increased spinal plasticity. Therefore, the aim of this study is to evaluate the role of link protein 1 in the activity-dependent modulation of spinal PNNs surrounding motoneurons and its impact on the maladaptive plasticity observed following SCI. We first studied the activity-dependent modulation of spinal PNNs using a voluntary wheel-running protocol. This training protocol increased spinal PNNs in WT mice but did not modify PNN components in KO mice, suggesting that link protein 1 mediates the activity-dependent modulation of PNNs. Secondly, a thoracic SCI was performed, and functional outcomes were evaluated for 35 days. Interestingly, hyperreflexia and hyperalgesia found at the end of the experiment in WT-injured mice were already present at basal levels in KO mice and remained unchanged after the injury. These findings demonstrated that link protein 1 plays a dual role in the correct formation and in activity-dependent modulation of PNNs, turning it into an essential element for the proper function of PNN in spinal circuits.