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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42631. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042631. Epub 2012 Aug 13.

MMPs and soluble ICAM-5 increase neuronal excitability within in vitro networks of hippocampal neurons.

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Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America.


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are zinc-dependent endopeptidases that are released from neurons in an activity dependent manner. Published studies suggest their activity is important to varied forms of learning and memory. At least one MMP can stimulate an increase in the size of dendritic spines, structures which represent the post synaptic component for a large number of glutamatergic synapses. This change may be associated with increased synaptic glutamate receptor incorporation, and an increased amplitude and/or frequency of α-amino-3-hydroxyl-5-methyl-4-isoxazole-propionate (AMPA) mini excitatory post-synaptic currents (EPSCs). An associated increase in the probability of action potential occurrence would be expected. While the mechanism(s) by which MMPs may influence synaptic structure and function are not completely understood, MMP dependent shedding of specific cell adhesion molecules (CAMs) could play an important role. CAMs are ideally positioned to be cleaved by synaptically released MMPs, and shed N terminal domains could potentially interact with previously unengaged integrins to stimulate dendritic actin polymerization with spine expansion. In the present study, we have used multielectrode arrays (MEAs) to investigate MMP and soluble CAM dependent changes in neuronal activity recorded from hippocampal cultures. We have focused on intercellular adhesion molecule-5 (ICAM-5) in particular, as this CAM is expressed on glutamatergic dendrites and shed in an MMP dependent manner. We show that chemical long-term potentiation (cLTP) evoked changes in recorded activity, and the dynamics of action potential bursts in particular, are altered by MMP inhibition. A blocking antibody to β(1) integrins has a similar effect. We also show that the ectodomain of ICAM-5 can stimulate β(1) integrin dependent increases in spike counts and burst number. These results support a growing body of literature suggesting that MMPs have important effects on neuronal excitability. They also support the possibility that MMP dependent shedding of specific synaptic CAMs can contribute to these effects.

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