Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 326, Issue 2, pp 647–654

The extracellular matrix and synapses


DOI: 10.1007/s00441-006-0217-1

Cite this article as:
Dityatev, A. & Schachner, M. Cell Tissue Res (2006) 326: 647. doi:10.1007/s00441-006-0217-1


Extracellular matrix (ECM) molecules, derived from both neurons and glial cells, are secreted and accumulate in the extracellular space to regulate various aspects of pre- and postsynaptic differentiation, the maturation of synapses, and their plasticity. The emerging mechanisms comprise interactions of agrin, integrin ligands, and reelin, with their cognate cell-surface receptors being coupled to tyrosine kinase activities. These may induce the clustering of postsynaptic receptors and changes in their composition and function. Furthermore, direct interactions of laminins, neuronal pentraxins, and tenascin-R with voltage-gated Ca2+ channels, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-proprionic acid (AMPA), and γ-aminobutyric acidB (GABAB) receptors, respectively, shape the organization and function of different subsets of synapses. Some of these mechanisms significantly contribute to the induction of long-term potentiation in excitatory synapses, either by the regulation of Ca2+ entry via N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors or L-type Ca2+ channels, or by the control of GABAergic inhibition.


Extracellular matrixMorphogenic effectsSynaptogenesisSynaptic maturationSynaptic plasticityLong-term potentiation

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für Neurophysiologie und PathophysiologieUniversitätsklinikum Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Zentrum für Molekulare Neurobiologie HamburgUniversitätsklinikum Hamburg-EppendorfHamburgGermany