Proteoglycans (PGs) are major constituents of the extracellular matrix and have recently been proposed to contribute to synaptic plasticity. Hippocampal PGs have not yet been studied or linked to memory. The aim of the study, therefore, was to isolate and characterize rat hippocampal PGs and determine their possible role in spatial memory. PGs were extracted from rat hippocampi by anion-exchange chromatography and analyzed by nano LC-MS/MS. Twenty male Sprague–Dawley rats were tested in the morris water maze. PGs agrin, amyloid beta A4 protein, brevican, glypican-1, neurocan, phosphacan, syndecan-4, and versican were identified in the hippocampi. Brevican and versican levels in the membrane fraction were higher in the trained group, correlating with the time spent in the target quadrant. α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate receptor GluR1 was co-precipitated with brevican and versican. Levels for a receptor complex containing GluR1 was higher in trained while GluR2 and GluR3-containing complex levels were higher in yoked rats. The findings provide information about the PGs present in the rat hippocampus, demonstrating that versican and brevican are linked to memory retrieval in the morris water maze and that PGs interact with α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate receptor GluR1, which is linked to memory retrieval.
Proteoglycans (PGs) are major constituents of the extracellular matrix of the brain and were proposed to contribute to synaptic plasticity. This report addressed PGs in rat hippocampus and suggests that PGs brevican and versican are linked to spatial memory, and form a complex with the GluR1 subunit of the AMPA receptor, a key signaling molecule in memory mechanisms.