DS (Down syndrome), resulting from trisomy of chromosome 21, is the most common cause of genetic mental retardation; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying the cognitive deficits are poorly understood. Growing data indicate that changes in abundance or type of CSPGs (chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans) in the ECM (extracellular matrix) can influence synaptic structure and plasticity. The purpose of this study was to identify changes in synaptic structure in the hippocampus in a model of DS, the Ts65Dn mouse, and to determine the relationship to proteoglycan abundance and/or cleavage and cognitive disability. We measured synaptic proteins by ELISA and changes in lectican expression and processing in the hippocampus of young and old Ts65Dn mice and LMCs (littermate controls). In young (5 months old) Ts65Dn hippocampal extracts, we found a significant increase in the postsynaptic protein PSD-95 (postsynaptic density 95) compared with LMCs. In aged (20 months old) Ts65Dn hippocampus, this increase was localized to hippocampal stratum oriens extracts compared with LMCs. Aged Ts65Dn mice exhibited impaired hippocampal-dependent spatial learning and memory in the RAWM (radial-arm water maze) and a marked increase in levels of the lectican versican V2 in stratum oriens that correlated with the number of errors made in the final RAWM block. Ts65Dn stratum oriens PNNs (perineuronal nets), an extension of the ECM enveloping mostly inhibitory interneurons, were dispersed over a larger area compared with LMC mice. Taken together, these data suggest a possible association with alterations in the ECM and inhibitory neurotransmission in the Ts65Dn hippocampus which could contribute to cognitive deficits.
Pubmed ID: 22225533 RIS Download
Mesh terms: Animals | Blotting, Western | Cognition Disorders | Disease Models, Animal | Down Syndrome | Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay | Extracellular Matrix | Hippocampus | Immunohistochemistry | Male | Mice | Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction | Synapses | Versicans
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