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Neuroscience. 2005;136(1):95-104. Epub 2005 Sep 21.

Construction of perineuronal net-like structure by cortical neurons in culture.

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Department of Applied Biology, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Matsugasaki, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8585, Japan.


Perineuronal nets consisting of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans and hyaluronic acid are associated with distinct neuronal populations in mammalian brain. Whether neurons or glia cells produce these surface-associated chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan perineuronal nets has remained in question. In the present study, we observed perineuronal net-like structure by rat cortical neurons in dissociated culture using Wisteria floribunda aggulutinin, hyaluronic acid binding protein, and the antibodies recognizing chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans. The double labeling experiments showed that perineuronal net-like structure labeled with Wisteria floribunda aggulutinin was observed often at parvalbumin-positive neurons in dissociated cortical culture without glia. Perineuronal net-like structure was not seen at the early stage of culture, but they became visible concomitantly with neuronal maturation after longer culture. High magnification observation further demonstrated that Wisteria floribunda aggulutinin labeling on cortical neurons was seen as numerous puncta along surface of somata and proximal dendrites, but not axons and synapses. Perineuronal net-like structure on cultured neurons was also visualized using chondroitin sulfate proteoglycan-specific antibodies and hyaluronic acid binding protein. Double labeling study demonstrated that perineuronal net-like structure in cultured cortical neurons was composed of chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans such as neurocan and phosphacan. The hyaluronidase treatment of live neurons abolished cellular labeling of hyaluronic acid binding protein and concomitantly diminished that of Wisteria floribunda aggulutinin. These results indicate that cultured cortical neurons are able to construct perineuronal net-like structure without glial cells.

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