Neural progenitor cells (NPCs) are found in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the adult brain, a specialized neurogenic niche that might provide a substrate for brain repair after injury. The incomplete knowledge of how NPCs in the niche respond to local signals limits the use of cultured NPCs in the development of cell transplantation strategies. We show that neurospheres obtained from the SVZ of the adult mouse expressed functional mGlu1 and mGlu5 metabotropic glutamate receptors. Pharmacological blockade of mGlu5 receptors promoted the apoptotic death of progenitors undergoing differentiation into neurons (PSA/NCAM+ cells for the most part), whereas blockade of mGlu1 receptors reduced the proliferation rate of NPCs, and promoted their differentiation towards the neuronal lineage. We conclude that endogenous activation of mGlu5 receptors might support specifically the survival of neuronal-restricted precursors, whereas endogenous activation of mGlu1 receptors might sustain the proliferation of earlier progenitors. Moreover, mGlu1 receptor antagonists increased the survival of NPCs, suggesting that endogenously activated mGlu1 receptors might play a role in the natural cell loss regulating the number or the type of progenitors.
- Metabotropic glutamate receptors
- Neural stem cells
- Subventricular zone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Drug Discovery