Noggin rescues age-related stem cell loss in the brain of senescent mice with neurodegenerative pathology.
ABSTRACT: Increasing age is the greatest known risk factor for the sporadic late-onset forms of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). One of the brain regions most severely affected in AD is the hippocampus, a privileged structure that contains adult neural stem cells (NSCs) with neurogenic capacity. Hippocampal neurogenesis decreases during aging and the decrease is exacerbated in AD, but the mechanistic causes underlying this progressive decline remain largely unexplored. We here investigated the effect of age on NSCs and neurogenesis by analyzing the senescence accelerated mouse prone 8 (SAMP8) strain, a nontransgenic short-lived strain that spontaneously develops a pathological profile similar to that of AD and that has been employed as a model system to study the transition from healthy aging to neurodegeneration. We show that SAMP8 mice display an accelerated loss of the NSC pool that coincides with an aberrant rise in BMP6 protein, enhanced canonical BMP signaling, and increased astroglial differentiation. In vitro assays demonstrate that BMP6 severely impairs NSC expansion and promotes NSC differentiation into postmitotic astrocytes. Blocking the dysregulation of the BMP pathway and its progliogenic effect in vivo by intracranial delivery of the antagonist Noggin restores hippocampal NSC numbers, neurogenesis, and behavior in SAMP8 mice. Thus, manipulating the local microenvironment of the NSC pool counteracts hippocampal dysfunction in pathological aging. Our results shed light on interventions that may allow taking advantage of the brain's natural plastic capacity to enhance cognitive function in late adulthood and in chronic neurodegenerative diseases such as AD.
Project description:During aging and in the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD), synaptic plasticity and neuronal integrity are disturbed. In addition to the alterations in plasticity in mature neurons, the neurodegenerative process in AD has been shown to be accompanied by alterations in neurogenesis. Members of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) family of growth factors have been implicated as important regulators of neurogenesis and neuronal cell fate determination during development; however, their role in adult neurogenesis and in AD is less clear. We show here by qRT-PCR analysis that BMP6 mRNA levels were significantly increased in the hippocampus of human patients with AD and in APP transgenic mice compared to controls. Immunoblot and immunohistochemical analyses confirmed that BMP6 protein levels were increased in human AD brains and APP transgenic mouse brains compared to controls and accumulated around hippocampal plaques. The increased levels of BMP6 were accompanied by defects in hippocampal neurogenesis in AD patients and APP transgenic mice. In support of a role for BMP6 in defective neurogenesis in AD, we show in an in vitro model of adult neurogenesis that treatment with amyloid-?(1-42) protein (A?) resulted in increased expression of BMP6, and that exposure to recombinant BMP6 resulted in reduced proliferation with no toxic effects. Together, these results suggest that A?-associated increases in BMP6 expression in AD may have deleterious effects on neurogenesis in the hippocampus, and therapeutic approaches could focus on normalization of BMP6 levels to protect against AD-related neurogenic deficits.
Project description:New neurons are added to the adult hippocampus throughout life and contribute to cognitive functions, including learning and memory. It remains unclear whether ongoing neurogenesis arises from self-renewing neural stem cells (NSCs) or from multipotential progenitor cells that cannot self-renew in the hippocampus. This is primarily based on observations that neural precursors derived from the subventricular zone (SVZ) can be passaged long term, whereas hippocampal subgranular zone (SGZ) precursors are rapidly depleted by passaging. We demonstrate here that high levels of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling occur in hippocampal but not SVZ precursors in vitro, and blocking BMP signaling with Noggin is sufficient to foster hippocampal cell self-renewal, proliferation, and multipotentiality using single-cell clonal analysis. Moreover, NSC maintenance requires continual Noggin exposure, which implicates BMPs as crucial regulators of NSC aging. In vivo, Noggin is expressed in the adult dentate gyrus and limits BMP signaling in proliferative cells of the SGZ. Transgenic Noggin overexpression in the SGZ increases multiple precursor cell populations but proportionally increases the glial fibrillary acidic protein-positive cell population at the expense of other precursors, suggesting that Noggin acts on NSCs in vivo. To confirm this, we used a dual thymidine analog paradigm to repeatedly label slowly dividing cells over a long duration. We find that small populations of label-retaining cells exist in the SGZ and that Noggin overexpression increases their numbers. Thus, we propose that the adult hippocampus contains a population of NSCs, which can be expanded both in vitro and in vivo by blocking BMP signaling.
Project description:The rate of neurogenesis is determined by 1) the number of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSCs), 2) proliferation of NSCs, 3) neuron lineage specification, and 4) survival rate of the newborn neurons. Aging lowers the rate of hippocampal neurogenesis, while exercise (Ex) increases this rate. However, it remains unclear which of the determinants are affected by aging and Ex. We characterized the four determinants in different age groups (3, 6, 9, 12, 21 months) of mice that either received one month of Ex training or remained sedentary. Bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) was injected two hours before sacrificing the mice to label the proliferating cells. The results showed that the number of newborn neurons massively decreased (>95%) by the time the mice reached nine months of age. The number of NSC was mildly reduced during aging, while Ex delayed such decline. The proliferation rates were greatly decreased by the time the mice were 9-month-old and Ex could not improve the rates. The rates of neuron specification were decreased during aging, while Ex increased the rates. The survival rate was not affected by age or Ex. Aging greatly reduced newborn neuron maturation, while Ex potently enhanced it. In conclusion, age-associated decline of hippocampal neurogenesis is mainly caused by reduction of NSC proliferation. Although Ex increases the NSC number and neuron specification rates, it doesn't restore the massive decline of NSC proliferation rate. Hence, the effect of Ex on the rate of hippocampal neurogenesis during aging is limited, but Ex does enhance the maturation of newborn neurons.
Project description:Adult neurogenesis persists in the hippocampus of most mammal species during postnatal and adult life, including humans, although it declines markedly with age. The mechanisms driving the age-dependent decline of hippocampal neurogenesis are yet not fully understood. The progressive loss of neural stem cells (NSCs) is a main factor, but the true neurogenic output depends initially on the actual number of activated NSCs in each given time point. Because the fraction of activated NSCs remains constant relative to the total population, the real number of activated NSCs declines in parallel to the total NSC pool. We investigated aging-associated changes in NSCs and found that there are at least two distinct populations of NSCs. An alpha type, which maintains the classic type-1 radial morphology and accounts for most of the overall NSC mitotic activity; and an omega type characterized by increased reactive-like morphological complexity and much lower probability of division even under a pro-activation challenge. Finally, our results suggest that alpha-type NSCs are able to transform into omega-type cells overtime and that this phenotypic and functional change might be facilitated by the chronic inflammation associated with aging.
Project description:Adult hippocampal neurogenesis involves the lifelong generation of neurons. The process depends on the homeostasis of the production of neurons and maintenance of the adult neural stem cell (NSC) pool. Here, we report that ?2-chimaerin, a Rho GTPase-activating protein, is essential for NSC homeostasis in adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Conditional deletion of ?2-chimaerin in adult NSCs resulted in the premature differentiation of NSCs into intermediate progenitor cells (IPCs), which ultimately depleted the NSC pool and impaired neuron generation. Single-cell RNA sequencing and pseudotime analyses revealed that ?2-chimaerin-conditional knockout (?2-CKO) mice lacked a unique NSC subpopulation, termed Klotho-expressing NSCs, during the transition of NSCs to IPCs. Furthermore, ?2-CKO led to defects in hippocampal synaptic plasticity and anxiety/depression-like behaviors in mice. Our findings collectively demonstrate that ?2-chimaerin plays an essential role in adult hippocampal NSC homeostasis to maintain proper brain function.
Project description:Neural stem cells (NSCs) continuously produce new neurons within the adult mammalian hippocampus. NSCs are typically quiescent but activated to self-renew or differentiate into neural progenitor cells. The molecular mechanisms of NSC activation remain poorly understood. Here, we show that adult hippocampal NSCs express vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) 3 and its ligand VEGF-C, which activates quiescent NSCs to enter the cell cycle and generate progenitor cells. Hippocampal NSC activation and neurogenesis are impaired by conditional deletion of Vegfr3 in NSCs. Functionally, this is associated with compromised NSC activation in response to VEGF-C and physical activity. In NSCs derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), VEGF-C/VEGFR3 mediates intracellular activation of AKT and ERK pathways that control cell fate and proliferation. These findings identify VEGF-C/VEGFR3 signaling as a specific regulator of NSC activation and neurogenesis in mammals.
Project description:Neural stem cells (NSCs) play essential roles in nervous system development and postnatal neuroregeneration and their deregulation underlies the development of neurodegenerative disorders. Yet how NSC proliferation and differentiation are controlled is not fully understood. Here we present evidence that tumor suppressor p53 regulates NSC proliferation and differentiation via the bone morphogenetic proteins (BMP)-Smad1 pathway and its target gene inhibitor of DNA binding 1 (Id1). p53 deficiency led to increased neurogenesis in vivo, and biased neuronal differentiation and augmented NSC proliferation of ex vivo NSCs. This is accompanied by elevated Smad1 expression/activation in the brain and NSC, which contributes to accelerated neuronal differentiation of p53(-/-) NSCs. p53 deficiency also leads to upregulation of Id1, whose expression is repressed by p53 in BMP-Smad1-dependent and -independent manners. Elevated Id1 expression contributes to augmented proliferation and, unexpectedly, accelerated neuronal differentiation of p53(-/-) NSCs as well. This study reveals a molecular mechanism by which tumor suppressor p53 controls NSC proliferation and differentiation and establishes a connection between p53 and Id1.
Project description:Our previous studies demonstrated that transplantation of human umbilical cord blood-derived mesenchymal stem cells (hUCB-MSCs) into the hippocampus of a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (AD) reduced amyloid-β (Aβ) plaques and enhanced cognitive function through paracrine action. Due to the limited life span of hUCB-MSCs after their transplantation, the extension of hUCB-MSC efficacy was essential for AD treatment. In this study, we show that repeated cisterna magna injections of hUCB-MSCs activated endogenous hippocampal neurogenesis and significantly reduced Aβ42 levels. To identify the paracrine factors released from the hUCB-MSCs that stimulated endogenous hippocampal neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus, we cocultured adult mouse neural stem cells (NSCs) with hUCB-MSCs and analyzed the cocultured media with cytokine arrays. Growth differentiation factor-15 (GDF-15) levels were significantly increased in the media. GDF-15 suppression in hUCB-MSCs with GDF-15 small interfering RNA reduced the proliferation of NSCs in cocultures. Conversely, recombinant GDF-15 treatment in both in vitro and in vivo enhanced hippocampal NSC proliferation and neuronal differentiation. Repeated administration of hUBC-MSCs markedly promoted the expression of synaptic vesicle markers, including synaptophysin, which are downregulated in patients with AD. In addition, in vitro synaptic activity through GDF-15 was promoted. Taken together, these results indicated that repeated cisterna magna administration of hUCB-MSCs enhanced endogenous adult hippocampal neurogenesis and synaptic activity through a paracrine factor of GDF-15, suggesting a possible role of hUCB-MSCs in future treatment strategies for AD.
Project description:The quiescence of adult neural stem cells (NSCs) is regulated by local parvalbumin (PV) interneurons within the dentate gyrus (DG). Little is known about how local PV interneurons communicate with distal brain regions to regulate NSCs and hippocampal neurogenesis. Here, we identify GABAergic projection neurons from the medial septum (MS) as the major afferents to dentate PV interneurons. Surprisingly, dentate PV interneurons are depolarized by GABA signaling, which is in sharp contrast to most mature neurons hyperpolarized by GABA. Functionally, these long-range GABAergic inputs are necessary and sufficient to maintain adult NSC quiescence and ablating them leads to NSC activation and subsequent depletion of the NSC pool. Taken together, these findings delineate a GABAergic network involving long-range GABAergic projection neurons and local PV interneurons that couples dynamic brain activity to the neurogenic niche in controlling NSC quiescence and hippocampal neurogenesis.
Project description:New neurons are continuously produced by neural stem cells (NSCs) within the adult hippocampus. Numerous diseases, including major depressive disorder and HIV-1 associated neurocognitive disorder, are associated with decreased rates of adult neurogenesis. A hallmark of these conditions is a chronic release of neuroinflammatory mediators by activated resident glia. Recent studies have shown a neuroprotective role on NSCs of cannabinoid receptor activation. Yet, little is known about the effects of GPR55, a candidate cannabinoid receptor, activation on reductions of neurogenesis in response to inflammatory insult. In the present study, we examined NSCs exposed to IL-1? in vitro to assess inflammation-caused effects on NSC differentiation and the ability of GPR55 agonists to attenuate NSC injury. NSC differentiation and neurogenesis was determined via immunofluorescence and flow cytometric analysis of NSC markers (Nestin, Sox2, DCX, S100?, ?III Tubulin, GFAP). GPR55 agonist treatment protected against IL-1? induced reductions in neurogenesis rates. Moreover, inflammatory cytokine receptor mRNA expression was down regulated by GPR55 activation in a neuroprotective manner. To determine inflammatory responses in vivo, we treated C57BL/6 and GPR55-/- mice with LPS (0.2?mg/kg/day) continuously for 14?days via osmotic mini-pump. Reductions in NSC survival (as determined by BrdU incorporation), immature neurons, and neuroblast formation due to LPS were attenuated by concurrent direct intrahippocampal administration of the GPR55 agonist, O-1602 (4?µg/kg/day). Molecular analysis of the hippocampal region showed a suppressed ability to regulate immune responses by GPR55-/- animals manifesting in a prolonged inflammatory response (IL-1?, IL-6, TNF?) after chronic, systemic inflammation as compared to C57BL/6 animals. Taken together, these results suggest a neuroprotective role of GPR55 activation on NSCs in vitro and in vivo and that GPR55 provides a novel therapeutic target against negative regulation of hippocampal neurogenesis by inflammatory insult.