Abnormal neural precursor cell regulation in the early postnatal Fragile X mouse hippocampus
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The regulation of neural precursor cells (NPCs) is indispensable for a properly functioning brain. Abnormalities in NPC proliferation, differentiation, survival, or integration have been linked to various neurological diseases including Fragile X syndrome. Yet, no studies have examined NPCs from the early postnatal Fragile X mouse hippocampus despite the importance of this developmental time point, which marks the highest expression level of FMRP, the protein missing in Fragile X, in the rodent hippocampus and is when hippocampal NPCs have migrated to the dentate gyrus (DG) to give rise to lifelong neurogenesis. In this study, we examined NPCs from the early postnatal hippocampus and DG of Fragile X mice (Fmr1-KO). Immunocytochemistry on neurospheres showed increased Nestin expression and decreased Ki67 expression, which collectively indicated aberrant NPC biology. Intriguingly, flow cytometric analysis of the expression of the antigens CD15, CD24, CD133, GLAST, and PSA-NCAM showed a decreased proportion of neural stem cells (GLAST+CD15+CD133+) and an increased proportion of neuroblasts (PSA-NCAM+CD15+) in the DG of P7 Fmr1-KO mice. This was mirrored by lower expression levels of Nestin and the mitotic marker phospho-histone H3 in vivo in the P9 hippocampus, as well as a decreased proportion of cells in the G2/M phases of the P7 DG. Thus, the absence of FMRP leads to fewer actively cycling NPCs, coinciding with a decrease in neural stem cells and an increase in neuroblasts. Together, these results show the importance of FMRP in the developing hippocampal formation and suggest abnormalities in cell cycle regulation in Fragile X.
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