The extracellular space is occupied by a complex network of proteins creating a mesh-like assembly known as the extracellular matrix (ECM). ECM assembles into dense net-like structures, perineuronal nets (PNNs), that envelope cell somas and proximal neurites of predominantly parvalbumin+-(PV+) interneurons. ECM regulates cell-to-cell communication, thereby modulating neuronal network function. Accumulating evidence points to the importance of network dysfunction in the pathophysiology of psychiatric diseases, in which stress acts as a major predisposing factor. Here we review stress-induced changes in ECM/PNNs and PV+-interneurons in preclinical models of (or for) depression, with a special focus on social stress. We argue that the direction of these alterations largely depends on stress recency, as well as on stress timing and the brain region under investigation. A biphasic temporal regulation of ECM/PNNs and PV+-interneuron function is typically observed after stress. Understanding the complex mechanisms underlying ECM organization in relation to stress-induced molecular, cellular and network changes is crucial to further decipher the implications of ECM remodeling in the incubation of depressive symptoms.
- Chronic mild/unpredictable stress
- Early life stress
- Experience-dependent plasticity
- Prefrontal cortex
- Restraint stress
- Social defeat stress