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Neurobiology of disease

Metalloproteinase inhibition prevents inhibitory synapse reorganization and seizure genesis.


PMID 24946277

Abstract

The integrity and stability of interneurons in a cortical network are essential for proper network function. Loss of interneuron synaptic stability and precise organization can lead to disruptions in the excitation/inhibition balance, a characteristic of epilepsy. This study aimed to identify alterations to the GABAergic interneuron network in the piriform cortex (PC: a cortical area believed to be involved in the development of seizures) after kindling-induced seizures. Immunohistochemistry was used to mark perineuronal nets (PNNs: structures in the extracellular matrix that provide synaptic stability and restrict reorganization of inhibitory interneurons) and interneuron nerve terminals in control and kindled tissues. We found that PNNs were significantly decreased around parvalbumin-positive interneurons after the induction of experimental epilepsy. Additionally, we found layer-specific increases in GABA release sites originating from calbindin, calretinin, and parvalbumin interneurons, implying that there is a re-wiring of the interneuronal network. This increase in release sites was matched by an increase in GABAergic post-synaptic densities. We hypothesized that the breakdown of the PNN could be due to the activity of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP) and that the prevention of PNN breakdown may reduce the rewiring of interneuronal circuits and suppress seizures. To test this hypothesis we employed doxycycline, a broad spectrum MMP inhibitor, to stabilize PNNs in kindled rats. We found that doxycycline prevented PNN breakdown, re-organization of the inhibitory innervation, and seizure genesis. Our observations indicate that PNN degradation may be necessary for the development of seizures by facilitating interneuron plasticity and increased GABAergic activity.