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Many genes regulating adult neurogenesis have been identified and are known to play similar roles during early neuronal development. We recently identified apolipoprotein E (ApoE) as a gene the expression of which is essentially absent in early brain progenitors but becomes markedly upregulated in adult dentate gyrus stem/progenitor cells. Here, we demonstrate that ApoE deficiency impairs adult dentate gyrus development by affecting the neural progenitor pool over time. We utilized ApoE-deficient mice crossed to a nestin-GFP reporter to demonstrate that dentate gyrus progenitor cells proliferate more rapidly at early ages, which is subsequently accompanied by an overall decrease in neural progenitor cell number at later time points. This appears to be secondary to over-proliferation early in life and ultimate depletion of the Type 1 nestin- and GFAP-expressing neural stem cells. We also rescue the proliferation phenotype with an ApoE-expressing retrovirus, demonstrating that ApoE works directly in this regard. These data provide novel insight into late hippocampal development and suggest a possible role for ApoE in neurodegenerative diseases.


Cui-Ping Yang, Jennifer A Gilley, Gui Zhang, Steven G Kernie. ApoE is required for maintenance of the dentate gyrus neural progenitor pool. Development (Cambridge, England). 2011 Oct;138(20):4351-62

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PMID: 21880781

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