Heterogeneous expression of extracellular matrix molecules in the red nucleus of the rat

Rácz, B. Gaál, C. Matesz

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Previous studies in our laboratory showed that the organization and heterogeneous molecular composition of extracellular matrix is associated with the variable cytoarchitecture, connections and specific functions of the vestibular nuclei and two related areas of the vestibular neural circuits, the inferior olive and prepositus hypoglossi nucleus. The aim of the present study is to reveal the organization and distribution of various molecular components of extracellular matrix in the red nucleus, a midbrain premotor center. Morphologically and functionally the red nucleus is comprised of the magno- and parvocellular parts, with overlapping neuronal population. By using histochemical and immunohistochemical methods, the extracellular matrix appeared as perineuronal net, axonal coat, perisynaptic matrix or diffuse network in the neuropil. In both parts of the red nucleus we have observed positive hyaluronan, tenascin-R, link protein, and lectican (aggrecan, brevican, versican, neurocan) reactions. Perineuronal nets were detected with each of the reactions and the aggrecan showed the most intense staining in the pericellular area. The two parts were clearly distinguished on the basis of neurocan and HAPLN1 expression as they have lower intensity in the perineuronal nets of large cells and in the neuropil of the magnocellular part. Additionally, in contrast to this pattern, the aggrecan was heavily labeled in the magnocellular region sharply delineating from the faintly stained parvocellular area. The most characteristic finding was that the appearance of perineuronal nets was related with the neuronal size independently from its position within the two subdivisions of red nucleus. In line with these statements none of the extracellular matrix molecules were restricted exclusively to the magno- or parvocellular division. The chemical heterogeneity of the perineuronal nets may support the recently accepted view that the red nucleus comprises more different populations of neurons than previously reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - May 13 2016



  • Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans
  • Hyaluronan
  • Link protein
  • Perineuronal net
  • Tenascin-R
  • Vestibular system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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