Unique features of extracellular matrix in the mouse medial nucleus of trapezoid body--implications for physiological functions

M BlosaMarkus Morawski


The medial nucleus of the trapezoid body (MNTB) is a vital structure of sound localization circuits in the auditory brainstem. Each principal cell of MNTB is contacted by a very large presynaptic glutamatergic terminal, the calyx of Held. The MNTB principal cells themselves are surrounded by extracellular matrix components forming prominent perineuronal nets (PNs). Throughout the CNS, PNs, which form lattice-like structures around the somata and proximal dendrites, are associated with distinct types of neurons. PNs are highly enriched in hyaluronan and chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans therefore providing a charged surface structure surrounding the cell body and proximal neurites of these neurons. The localization and composition of PNs have lead investigators to a number of hypotheses about their functions including: creating a specific extracellular ionic milieu around these neurons, stabilizing synapses, and influencing the outgrowth of axons. However, presently the precise functions of PNs are still quite unclear primarily due to the lack of an ideal experimental model system that is highly enriched in PNs and in which the synaptic transmission properties can be precisely measured. The MNTB principal cells could offer such ...Continue Reading


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