Matrix metalloproteinase-9 is required for hippocampal late-phase long-term potentiation and memory

Vanja Nagy, Ozlem Bozdagi, Anna Matynia, Marcin Balcerzyk, Pawel Okulski, Joanna Dzwonek, Rui M. Costa, Alcino J. Silva, Leszek Kaczmarek, George W. Huntley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

414 Scopus citations


Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) are extracellular proteases that have well recognized roles in cell signaling and remodeling in many tissues. In the brain, their activation and function are customarily associated with injury or pathology. Here, we demonstrate a novel role for MMP-9 in hippocampal synaptic physiology, plasticity, and memory. MMP-9 protein levels and proteolytic activity are rapidly increased by stimuli that induce late-phase long-term potentiation (L-LTP) in area CA1. Such regulation requires NMDA receptors and protein synthesis. Blockade of MMP-9 pharmacologically prevents induction of L-LTP selectively; MMP-9 plays no role in, nor is regulated during, other forms of short-term synaptic potentiation or long-lasting synaptic depression. Similarly, in slices from MMP-9 null-mutant mice, hippocampal LTP, but not long-term depression, is impaired in magnitude and duration; adding recombinant active MMP-9 to null-mutant slices restores the magnitude and duration of LTP to wild-type levels. Activated MMP-9 localizes in part to synapses and modulates hippocampal synaptic physiology through integrin receptors, because integrin function-blocking reagents prevent an MMP-9-mediated potentiation of synaptic signal strength. The fundamental importance of MMP-9 function in modulating hippocampal synaptic physiology and plasticity is underscored by behavioral impairments in hippocampal-dependent memory displayed by MMP-9 null-mutant mice. Together, these data reveal new functions for MMPs in synaptic and behavioral plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1923-1934
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 15 2006
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience


  • Extracellular matrix
  • Fear conditioning
  • Integrins
  • LTD
  • Proteolysis
  • Synaptic plasticity


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