De novo mutations of the voltage-gated sodium channel gene SCN8A have recently been recognized as a cause of epileptic encephalopathy, which is characterized by refractory seizures with developmental delay and cognitive disability. We previously described the heterozygous SCN8A missense mutation p.Asn1768Asp in a child with epileptic encephalopathy that included seizures, ataxia, and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). The mutation results in increased persistent sodium current and hyperactivity of transfected neurons. We have characterized a knock-in mouse model expressing this dominant gain-of-function mutation to investigate the pathology of the altered channel in vivo. The mutant channel protein is stable in vivo. Heterozygous Scn8a(N1768D/+) mice exhibit seizures and SUDEP, confirming the causality of the de novo mutation in the proband. Using video/EEG analysis, we detect ictal discharges that coincide with convulsive seizures and myoclonic jerks. Prior to seizure onset, heterozygous mutants are not defective in motor learning or fear conditioning, but do exhibit mild impairment of motor coordination and social discrimination. Homozygous mutant mice exhibit earlier seizure onset than heterozygotes and more rapid progression to death. Analysis of the intermediate phenotype of functionally hemizygous Scn8a(N1768D/-) mice indicates that severity is increased by a double dose of mutant protein and reduced by the presence of wild-type protein. Scn8a(N1768D) mutant mice provide a model of epileptic encephalopathy that will be valuable for studying the in vivo effects of hyperactive Nav1.6 and the response to therapeutic interventions.
Zebrafish maintain a greater capacity than mammals for central nervous system repair after injury. Understanding differences in regenerative responses between different vertebrate species may shed light on mechanisms to improve repair in humans. Quinolinic acid is an excitotoxin that has been used to induce brain injury in rodents for modeling Huntington's disease and stroke. When injected into the adult rodent striatum, this toxin stimulates subventricular zone neurogenesis and neuroblast migration to injury. However, most new neurons fail to survive and lesion repair is minimal. We used quinolinic acid to lesion the adult zebrafish telencephalon to study reparative processes. We also used conditional transgenic lineage mapping of adult radial glial stem cells to explore survival and integration of neurons generated after injury. Telencephalic lesioning with quinolinic acid, and to a lesser extent vehicle injection, produced cell death, microglial infiltration, increased cell proliferation, and enhanced neurogenesis in the injured hemisphere. Lesion repair was more complete with quinolinic acid injection than after vehicle injection. Fate mapping of her4-expressing radial glia showed injury-induced expansion of radial glial stem cells that gave rise to neurons which migrated to injury, survived at least 8 weeks and formed long-distance projections that crossed the anterior commissure and synapsed in the contralateral hemisphere. These findings suggest that quinolinic acid lesioning of the zebrafish brain stimulates adult neural stem cells to produce robust regeneration with long-distance integration of new neurons. This model should prove useful for elucidating reparative mechanisms that can be applied to restorative therapies for mammalian brain injury. GLIA 2014;62:2061-2079.
G protein-coupled receptors strongly modulate neuronal excitability but there has been little evidence for G protein mechanisms in genetic epilepsies. Recently, four patients with epileptic encephalopathy (EIEE17) were found to have mutations in GNAO1, the most abundant G protein in brain, but the mechanism of this effect is not known. The GNAO1 gene product, G?o, negatively regulates neurotransmitter release. Here, we report a dominant murine model of Gnao1-related seizures and sudden death. We introduced a genomic gain-of-function knock-in mutation (Gnao1 (+/G184S)) that prevents Go turnoff by Regulators of G protein signaling proteins. This results in rare seizures, strain-dependent death between 15 and 40 weeks of age, and a markedly increased frequency of interictal epileptiform discharges. Mutants on a C57BL/6J background also have faster sensitization to pentylenetetrazol (PTZ) kindling. Both premature lethality and PTZ kindling effects are suppressed in the 129SvJ mouse strain. We have mapped a 129S-derived modifier locus on Chromosome 17 (within the region 41-70 MB) as a Modifer of G protein Seizures (Mogs1). Our mouse model suggests a novel gain-of-function mechanism for the newly defined subset of epileptic encephalopathy (EIEE17). Furthermore, it reveals a new epilepsy susceptibility modifier Mogs1 with implications for the complex genetics of human epilepsy as well as sudden death in epilepsy.
5'-deoxy-5'-methylthioadenosine (MTA) is an endogenous compound produced through the metabolism of polyamines. The therapeutic potential of MTA has been assayed mainly in liver diseases and, more recently, in animal models of multiple sclerosis. The aim of this study was to determine the neuroprotective effect of this molecule in vitro and to assess whether MTA can cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) in order to also analyze its potential neuroprotective efficacy in vivo.
Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder that affects approximately 50 million people worldwide. Both risk of epilepsy and response to treatment partly depend on genetic factors, and gene identification is a promising approach to target new prediction, treatment, and prevention strategies. However, despite significant progress in the identification of genes causing epilepsy in families with a Mendelian inheritance pattern, there is relatively little known about the genetic factors responsible for common forms of epilepsy and so-called epileptic encephalopathies. Study design The Epilepsy Phenome/Genome Project (EPGP) is a multi-institutional, retrospective phenotype-genotype study designed to gather and analyze detailed phenotypic information and DNA samples on 5250 participants, including probands with specific forms of epilepsy and, in a subset, parents of probands who do not have epilepsy.
Glycogen, the largest cytosolic macromolecule, is soluble because of intricate construction generating perfect hydrophilic-surfaced spheres. Little is known about neuronal glycogen function and metabolism, though progress is accruing through the neurodegenerative epilepsy Lafora disease (LD) proteins laforin and malin. Neurons in LD exhibit Lafora bodies (LBs), large accumulations of malconstructed insoluble glycogen (polyglucosans). We demonstrated that the laforin-malin complex reduces LBs and protects neuronal cells against endoplasmic reticulum stress-induced apoptosis. We now show that stress induces polyglucosan formation in normal neurons in culture and in the brain. This is mediated by increased glucose-6-phosphate allosterically hyperactivating muscle glycogen synthase (GS1) and is followed by activation of the glycogen digesting enzyme glycogen phosphorylase. In the absence of laforin, stress-induced polyglucosans are undigested and accumulate into massive LBs, and in laforin-deficient mice, stress drastically accelerates LB accumulation and LD. The mechanism through which laforin-malin mediates polyglucosan degradation remains unclear but involves GS1 dephosphorylation by laforin. Our work uncovers the presence of rapid polyglucosan metabolism as part of the normal physiology of neuroprotection. We propose that deficiency in the degradative phase of this metabolism, leading to LB accumulation and resultant seizure predisposition and neurodegeneration, underlies LD.
Epileptic encephalopathies are a devastating group of severe childhood epilepsy disorders for which the cause is often unknown. Here we report a screen for de novo mutations in patients with two classical epileptic encephalopathies: infantile spasms (n = 149) and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (n = 115). We sequenced the exomes of 264 probands, and their parents, and confirmed 329 de novo mutations. A likelihood analysis showed a significant excess of de novo mutations in the ?4,000 genes that are the most intolerant to functional genetic variation in the human population (P = 2.9?×?10(-3)). Among these are GABRB3, with de novo mutations in four patients, and ALG13, with the same de novo mutation in two patients; both genes show clear statistical evidence of association with epileptic encephalopathy. Given the relevant site-specific mutation rates, the probabilities of these outcomes occurring by chance are P = 4.1?×?10(-10) and P = 7.8?×?10(-12), respectively. Other genes with de novo mutations in this cohort include CACNA1A, CHD2, FLNA, GABRA1, GRIN1, GRIN2B, HNRNPU, IQSEC2, MTOR and NEDD4L. Finally, we show that the de novo mutations observed are enriched in specific gene sets including genes regulated by the fragile X protein (P?10(-8)), as has been reported previously for autism spectrum disorders.
Neuronal channelopathies cause brain disorders, including epilepsy, migraine, and ataxia. Despite the development of mouse models, pathophysiological mechanisms for these disorders remain uncertain. One particularly devastating channelopathy is Dravet syndrome (DS), a severe childhood epilepsy typically caused by de novo dominant mutations in the SCN1A gene encoding the voltage-gated sodium channel Na(v) 1.1. Heterologous expression of mutant channels suggests loss of function, raising the quandary of how loss of sodium channels underlying action potentials produces hyperexcitability. Mouse model studies suggest that decreased Na(v) 1.1 function in interneurons causes disinhibition. We aim to determine how mutant SCN1A affects human neurons using the induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) method to generate patient-specific neurons.
Patterning of bioactive enzymes with subcellular resolution is achieved by dispensing droplets of dextran (DEX) onto polyethylene glycol (PEG)-covered cells though a glass capillary needle connected to a pneumatic pump. This technique is applied to purify colonies of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) feeder cultures and inefficiently induced iPSC colonies by selectively dissociating the iPSCs with proteases.
Voltage-gated Na(+) channel (VGSC) ?1 subunits, encoded by SCN1B, are multifunctional channel modulators and cell adhesion molecules (CAMs). Mutations in SCN1B are associated with the genetic epilepsy with febrile seizures plus (GEFS+) spectrum disorders in humans, and Scn1b-null mice display severe spontaneous seizures and ataxia from postnatal day (P)10. The goal of this study was to determine changes in neuronal pathfinding during early postnatal brain development of Scn1b-null mice to test the hypothesis that these CAM-mediated roles of Scn1b may contribute to the development of hyperexcitability. c-Fos, a protein induced in response to seizure activity, was up-regulated in the Scn1b-null brain at P16 but not at P5. Consistent with this, epileptiform activity was observed in hippocampal and cortical slices prepared from the P16 but not from the P5-P7 Scn1b-null brain. On the basis of these results, we investigated neuronal pathfinding at P5. We observed disrupted fasciculation of parallel fibers in the P5 null cerebellum. Further, P5 null mice showed reduced neuron density in the dentate gyrus granule cell layer, increased proliferation of granule cell precursors in the hilus, and defective axonal extension and misorientation of somata and processes of inhibitory neurons in the dentate gyrus and CA1. Thus, Scn1b is critical for neuronal proliferation, migration, and pathfinding during the critical postnatal period of brain development. We propose that defective neuronal proliferation, migration, and pathfinding in response to Scn1b deletion may contribute to the development of hyperexcitability.
Dravet syndrome is a severe form of intractable pediatric epilepsy with a high incidence of SUDEP: Sudden Unexpected Death in epilepsy. Cardiac arrhythmias are a proposed cause for some cases of SUDEP, yet the susceptibility and potential mechanism of arrhythmogenesis in Dravet syndrome remain unknown. The majority of Dravet syndrome patients have de novo mutations in SCN1A, resulting in haploinsufficiency. We propose that, in addition to neuronal hyperexcitability, SCN1A haploinsufficiency alters cardiac electrical function and produces arrhythmias, providing a potential mechanism for SUDEP.
Neural progenitor cells persist throughout life in the forebrain subventricular zone (SVZ). They generate neuroblasts that migrate to the olfactory bulb and differentiate into interneurons, but mechanisms underlying these processes are poorly understood. Hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF/SF) is a pleiotropic factor that influences cell motility, proliferation and morphogenesis in neural and non-neural tissues. HGF and its receptor, c-Met, are present in the rodent SVZ-olfactory bulb pathway. Using in vitro neurogenesis assays and in vivo studies of partially HGF-deficient mice, we find that HGF promotes SVZ cell proliferation and progenitor cell maintenance, while slowing differentiation and possibly altering cell fate choices. HGF also acts as a chemoattractant for SVZ neuroblasts in co-culture assays. Decreased HGF signaling induces ectopic SVZ neuroblast migration and alters the timing of migration to the olfactory bulb. These results suggest that HGF influences multiple steps in postnatal forebrain neurogenesis. HGF is a mitogen for SVZ neural progenitors, and regulates their differentiation and olfactory bulb migration.
Efficient memory formation relies on the establishment of functional hippocampal circuits. It has been proposed that synaptic connections are refined by neural activity to form functional brain circuitry. However, it is not known whether and how hippocampal connections are refined by neural activity in vivo. Using a mouse genetic system in which restricted populations of neurons in the hippocampal circuit are inactivated, we show that inactive axons are eliminated after they develop through a competition with active axons. Remarkably, in the dentate gyrus, which undergoes neurogenesis throughout life, axon refinement is achieved by a competition between mature and young neurons. These results demonstrate that activity-dependent competition plays multiple roles in the establishment of functional memory circuits in vivo.
It is now well established that neurogenesis in the rodent subgranular zone of the hippocampal dentate gyrus continues throughout adulthood. Neuroblasts born in the dentate subgranular zone migrate into the granule cell layer, where they differentiate into neurons known as dentate granule cells. Suppression of neurogenesis by irradiation or genetic ablation has been shown to disrupt synaptic plasticity in the dentate gyrus and impair some forms of hippocampus-dependent learning and memory. Using a recently developed transgenic mouse model for suppressing neurogenesis, we sought to determine the long-term impact of ablating neurogenesis on synaptic plasticity in young-adult mice. Consistent with previous reports, we found that ablation of neurogenesis resulted in significant deficits in dentate gyrus long-term potentiation (LTP) when examined at a time proximal to the ablation. However, the observed deficits in LTP were not permanent. LTP in the dentate gyrus was restored within 6 wk and this recovery occurred in the complete absence of neurogenesis. The recovery in LTP was accompanied by prominent changes within the dentate gyrus, including an increase in the survival rate of newborn cells that were proliferating just before the ablation and a reduction in inhibitory input to the granule cells of the dentate gyrus. These findings suggest that prolonged suppression of neurogenesis in young-adult mice results in wide-ranging compensatory changes in the structure and dynamics of the dentate gyrus that function to restore plasticity.
Networks can be dynamical systems that undergo functional and structural reorganization. One example of such a process is adult hippocampal neurogenesis, in which new cells are continuously born and incorporate into the existing network of the dentate gyrus region of the hippocampus. Many of these introduced cells mature and become indistinguishable from established neurons, joining the existing network. Activity in the network environment is known to promote birth, survival and incorporation of new cells. However, after epileptogenic injury, changes to the connectivity structure around the neurogenic niche are known to correlate with aberrant neurogenesis. The possible role of network-level changes in the development of epilepsy is not well understood. In this paper, we use a computational model to investigate how the structural and functional outcomes of network reorganization, driven by addition of new cells during neurogenesis, depend on the original network structure. We find that there is a stable network topology that allows the network to incorporate new neurons in a manner that enhances activity of the persistently active region, but maintains global network properties. In networks having other connectivity structures, new cells can greatly alter the distribution of firing activity and destroy the initial activity patterns. We thus find that new cells are able to provide focused enhancement of network only for small-world networks with sufficient inhibition. Network-level deviations from this topology, such as those caused by epileptogenic injury, can set the network down a path that develops toward pathological dynamics and aberrant structural integration of new cells.
The tuba1a gene encodes a neural-specific ?-tubulin isoform whose expression is restricted to the developing and regenerating nervous system. By using zebrafish as a model system for studying CNS regeneration, we recently showed that retinal injury induces tuba1a gene expression in Müller glia that reentered the cell cycle. However, because of the transient nature of tuba1a gene expression during development and regeneration, it was not possible to trace the lineage of the tuba1a-expressing cells with a reporter directly under the control of the tuba1a promoter. To overcome this limitation, we generated tuba1a:CreER(T2) and ?-actin2:loxP-mCherrry-loxP-GFP double transgenic fish that allowed us to label tuba1a-expressing cells conditionally and permanently via ligand-induced recombination. During development, recombination revealed transient tuba1a expression in not only neural progenitors but also cells that contribute to skeletal muscle, heart, and intestine. In the adult, recombination revealed tuba1a expression in brain, olfactory neurons, and sensory cells of the lateral line, but not in the retina. After retinal injury, recombination showed tuba1a expression in Müller glia that had reentered the cell cycle, and lineage tracing indicated that these cells are responsible for regenerating retinal neurons and glia. These results suggest that tuba1a-expressing progenitors contribute to multiple cell lineages during development and that tuba1a-expressing Müller glia are retinal progenitors in the adult.
Neurogenesis continues through the adult life of mice in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus in the hippocampus, but its function remains unclear. Measuring cellular proliferation in the hippocampus of 719 outbred heterogeneous stock mice revealed a highly significant correlation with the proportions of CD8+ versus CD4+ T lymphocyte subsets. This correlation reflected shared genetic loci, with the exception of the H-2Ea locus that had a dominant influence on T cell subsets but no impact on neurogenesis. Analysis of knockouts and repopulation of TCR?-deficient mice by subsets of T cells confirmed the influence of T cells on adult neurogenesis, indicating that CD4+ T cells or subpopulations thereof mediate the effect. Our results reveal an organismal impact, broader than hitherto suspected, of the natural genetic variation that controls T cell development and homeostasis.
Dentate granule cell (DGC) neurogenesis persists throughout life in the hippocampal dentate gyrus. In rodent temporal lobe epilepsy models, status epilepticus (SE) stimulates neurogenesis, but many newborn DGCs integrate aberrantly and are hyperexcitable, whereas others may integrate normally and restore inhibition. The overall influence of altered neurogenesis on epileptogenesis is therefore unclear. To better understand the role DGC neurogenesis plays in seizure-induced plasticity, we injected retroviral (RV) reporters to label dividing DGC progenitors at specific times before or after SE, or used x-irradiation to suppress neurogenesis. RV injections 7 weeks before SE to mark DGCs that had matured by the time of SE labeled cells with normal placement and morphology 4 weeks after SE. RV injections 2 or 4 weeks before seizure induction to label cells still developing during SE revealed normally located DGCs exhibiting hilar basal dendrites and mossy fiber sprouting (MFS) when observed 4 weeks after SE. Cells labeled by injecting RV after SE displayed hilar basal dendrites and ectopic migration, but not sprouting, at 28 d after SE; when examined 10 weeks after SE, however, these cells showed robust MFS. Eliminating cohorts of newborn DGCs by focal brain irradiation at specific times before or after SE decreased MFS or hilar ectopic DGCs, supporting the RV labeling results. These findings indicate that developing DGCs exhibit maturation-dependent vulnerability to SE, indicating that abnormal DGC plasticity derives exclusively from aberrantly developing DGCs. Treatments that restore normal DGC development after epileptogenic insults may therefore ameliorate epileptogenic network dysfunction and associated morbidities.
Neural stem cells persist in the adult mammalian forebrain and are a potential source of neurons for repair after brain injury. The two main areas of persistent neurogenesis, the subventricular zone (SVZ)-olfactory bulb pathway and hippocampal dentate gyrus, are stimulated by brain insults such as stroke or trauma. Here we focus on the effects of focal cerebral ischemia on SVZ neural progenitor cells in experimental stroke, and the influence of mechanical injury on adult hippocampal neurogenesis in models of traumatic brain injury (TBI). Stroke potently stimulates forebrain SVZ cell proliferation and neurogenesis. SVZ neuroblasts are induced to migrate to the injured striatum, and to a lesser extent to the peri-infarct cortex. Controversy exists as to the types of neurons that are generated in the injured striatum, and whether adult-born neurons contribute to functional restoration remains uncertain. Advances in understanding the regulation of SVZ neurogenesis in general, and stroke-induced neurogenesis in particular, may lead to improved integration and survival of adult-born neurons at sites of injury. Dentate gyrus cell proliferation and neurogenesis similarly increase after experimental TBI. However, pre-existing neuroblasts in the dentate gyrus are vulnerable to traumatic insults, which appear to stimulate neural stem cells in the SGZ to proliferate and replace them, leading to increased numbers of new granule cells. Interventions that stimulate hippocampal neurogenesis appear to improve cognitive recovery after experimental TBI. Transgenic methods to conditionally label or ablate neural stem cells are beginning to further address critical questions regarding underlying mechanisms and functional significance of neurogenesis after stroke or TBI. Future therapies should be aimed at directing appropriate neuronal replacement after ischemic or traumatic injury while suppressing aberrant integration that may contribute to co-morbidities such as epilepsy or cognitive impairment.
Forebrain neurogenesis persists throughout life in the rodent subventricular zone (SVZ) and hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG). Several strategies have been employed to eliminate adult neurogenesis and thereby determine whether depleting adult-born neurons disrupts specific brain functions, but some approaches do not specifically target neural progenitors. We have developed a transgenic mouse line to reversibly ablate adult neural stem cells and suppress neurogenesis. The nestin-tk mouse expresses herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase (tk) under the control of the nestin 2nd intronic enhancer, which drives expression in neural progenitors. Administration of ganciclovir (GCV) kills actively dividing cells expressing this transgene. We found that peripheral GCV administration suppressed SVZ-olfactory bulb and DG neurogenesis within 2 weeks but caused systemic toxicity. Intracerebroventricular GCV infusion for 28 days nearly completely depleted proliferating cells and immature neurons in both the SVZ and DG without systemic toxicity. Reversibility of the effects after prolonged GCV infusion was slow and partial. Neurogenesis did not recover 2 weeks after cessation of GCV administration, but showed limited recovery 6 weeks after GCV that differed between the SVZ and DG. Suppression of neurogenesis did not inhibit antidepressant responsiveness of mice in the tail suspension test. These findings indicate that SVZ and DG neural stem cells differ in their capacity for repopulation, and that adult-born neurons are not required for antidepressant responses in a common behavioral test of antidepressant efficacy. The nestin-tk mouse should be useful for studying how reversible depletion of adult neurogenesis influences neurophysiology, other behaviors, and neural progenitor dynamics.
Neural stem cells (NSCs) persist in the forebrain subventricular zone (SVZ) within a niche containing endothelial cells. Evidence suggests that endothelial cells stimulate NSC expansion and neurogenesis. Experimental stroke increases neurogenesis and angiogenesis, but how endothelial cells influence stroke-induced neurogenesis is unknown. We hypothesized intact or oxygen-glucose deprived (OGD) endothelial cells secrete factors that enhance neurogenesis. We co-cultured mouse SVZ neurospheres (NS) with endothelial cells, or differentiated NS in endothelial cell-conditioned medium (ECCM). NS also were expanded in ECCM from OGD-exposed (OGD-ECCM) endothelial cells to assess injury effects. ECCM significantly increased NS production. NS co-cultured with endothelial cells or ECCM generated more immature-appearing neurons and oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes with radial glial-like/reactive morphology than controls. OGD-ECCM stimulated neuroblast migration and yielded neurons with longer processes and more branching. These data indicate that intact and injured endothelial cells exert differing effects on NSCs, and suggest targets for stimulating regeneration after brain insults.
Spatiotemporal patterning of neuronal activity is considered to be an important feature of cognitive processing in the brain as well as pathological brain states, such as seizures. Here, we investigate complex interactions between intrinsic properties of neurons and network structure in the generation of network spatiotemporal patterning in the context of seizure-like synchrony. We show that membrane excitability properties have differential effects on network activity patterning for different network topologies. We consider excitatory networks consisting of neurons with excitability properties varying between type I and type II that exhibit significantly different spike frequency responses to external current stimulation, especially at firing threshold. We find that networks with type II-like neurons show higher synchronization and bursting capacity across a range of network topologies than corresponding networks with type I-like neurons. These differences in activity patterning are persistent across different network sizes, connectivity strengths, magnitudes of random external input, and the addition of inhibitory interneurons to the network, making them highly likely to be relevant to brain function. Furthermore, we show that heterogeneous networks of mixed cell types show emergent dynamical patterns even for very low mixing ratios. Specifically, the addition of a small percentage of type II-like cells into a network of type I-like cells can markedly change the patterning of network activity. These findings suggest that cellular as well as network mechanisms can go hand in hand, leading to the generation of seizure-like discharges, suggesting that a single ictogenic mechanism alone may not be responsible for seizure generation.
Hippocampal dentate granule cell abnormalities are thought to play a causative role in temporal lobe epilepsy, but their precise contribution has not been dissociated from coexisting pathological changes. In this issue of Neuron, Pun et al. (2012) show, for the first time, that inducing proexcitatory changes in a subset of DGCs in isolation is sufficient to cause epilepsy in a rodent.
Adult hippocampal neurogenesis is thought to be essential for learning and memory, and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several disorders. Although recent studies have identified key factors regulating neuroprogenitor proliferation in the adult hippocampus, the mechanisms that control the migration and integration of adult-born neurons into circuits are largely unknown. Reelin is an extracellular matrix protein that is vital for neuronal development. Activation of the Reelin cascade leads to phosphorylation of Disabled-1, an adaptor protein required for Reelin signaling. Here we used transgenic mouse and retroviral reporters along with Reelin signaling gain-of-function and loss-of-function studies to show that the Reelin pathway regulates migration and dendritic development of adult-generated hippocampal neurons. Whereas overexpression of Reelin accelerated dendritic maturation, inactivation of the Reelin signaling pathway specifically in adult neuroprogenitor cells resulted in aberrant migration, decreased dendrite development, formation of ectopic dendrites in the hilus, and the establishment of aberrant circuits. Our findings support a cell-autonomous and critical role for the Reelin pathway in regulating dendritic development and the integration of adult-generated granule cells and point to this pathway as a key regulator of adult neurogenesis. Moreover, our data reveal a novel role of the Reelin cascade in adult brain function with potential implications for the pathogenesis of several neurological and psychiatric disorders.
One of the most common types of epilepsy in adults is temporal lobe epilepsy. Temporal lobe epilepsy is often resistant to pharmacological treatment, requiring urgent understanding of its molecular and cellular mechanisms. It is generally accepted that an imbalance between excitatory and inhibitory inputs is related to epileptogenesis. We have recently identified that fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 7 is critical for inhibitory synapse formation in the developing hippocampus. Remarkably, FGF7 knockout mice are prone to epileptic seizures induced by chemical kindling (Terauchi et al., 2010). Here we show that FGF7 knockout mice exhibit epileptogenesis-related changes in the hippocampus even without kindling induction. FGF7 knockout mice show mossy fiber sprouting and enhanced dentate neurogenesis by 2 months of age, without apparent spontaneous seizures. These results suggest that FGF7-deficiency impairs inhibitory synapse formation, which results in mossy fiber sprouting and enhanced neurogenesis during development, making FGF7 knockout mice vulnerable to epilepsy.
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