Extracellular Matrix Recycling as a Novel Plasticity Mechanism With a Potential Role in Disease


Dankovich TM, Rizzoli SO


Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience


Front Cell Neurosci. 2022 Mar 31;16:854897.


The extracellular matrix (ECM) stabilizes neural circuits and synapses in the healthy brain, while also retaining the ability to be remodeled, to allow synapses to be plastic. A well-described mechanism for ECM remodeling is through the regulated secretion of proteolytic enzymes at the synapse, together with the synthesis of new ECM molecules. The importance of this process is evidenced by the large number of brain disorders that are associated with a dysregulation of ECM-cleaving protease activity. While most of the brain ECM molecules are indeed stable for remarkable time periods, evidence in other cell types, as cancer cells, suggests that at least a proportion of the ECM molecules may be endocytosed regularly, and could even be recycled back to the ECM. In this review, we discuss the involvement of such a mechanism in the brain, under physiological activity conditions and in relation to synapse and brain disease.



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