The Role and Modulation of Spinal Perineuronal Nets in the Healthy and Injured Spinal Cord
Judith Sánchez-Ventura, Michael A Lane, Esther Udina
Rather than being a stable scaffold, perineuronal nets (PNNs) are a dynamic and specialized extracellular matrix involved in plasticity modulation. They have been extensively studied in the brain and associated with neuroprotection, ionic buffering, and neural maturation. However, their biological function in the spinal cord and the effects of disrupting spinal PNNs remain elusive. The goal of this review is to summarize the current knowledge of spinal PNNs and their potential in pathological conditions such as traumatic spinal cord injury (SCI). We also highlighted interventions that have been used to modulate the extracellular matrix after SCI, targeting the glial scar and spinal PNNs, in an effort to promote regeneration and stabilization of the spinal circuits, respectively. These concepts are discussed in the framework of developmental and neuroplastic changes in PNNs, drawing similarities between immature and denervated neurons after an SCI, which may provide a useful context for future SCI research.