What are Perineuronal Nets?
Perineuronal nets, or PNNS, are formations located in the extracellular matrix of the brain and spinal cord. Normally, they surround neurons to support and stabilize brain connections, promoting better memory retrieval. In victims of PTSD, however, the protection afforded by PNNs causes flashbacks and prohibits recovery by forcing patients to remember and relive high-stress experiences. However, PNNs are composed mainly of proteins termed proteoglycans, and these can be degraded with a variety of enzymes, such as chondroitinase ABC. By breaking down PNNs in specific brain areas that are associated with emotional processing, and activated during flashbacks, we can promote fear-dependent memory erasure and ensure better recovery for PTSD patients.