Learning and memory depend on fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 functioning in hippocampus.
ABSTRACT Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) signaling controls self-renewal of neural stem cells during embryonic telencephalic development. FGF receptor 2 (FGFR2) has a significant role in the production of cortical neurons during embryogenesis, but its role in the hippocampus during development and in adulthood has not been described.
Here we dissociate the role of FGFR2 in the hippocampus during development and during adulthood with the use of embryonic knockout and inducible knockout mice.
Embryonic knockout of FGFR2 causes a reduction of hippocampal volume and impairment in adult spatial memory in mice. Spatial reference memory, as assessed by performance on the water maze probe trial, was correlated with reduced hippocampal parvalbumin+ cells, whereas short-term learning was correlated with reduction in immature neurons in the dentate gyrus. Furthermore, short-term learning and newly generated neurons in the dentate gyrus were deficient even when FGFR2 was lacking only in adulthood.
Taken together, these findings support a dual role for FGFR2 in hippocampal short-term learning and long-term reference memory, which appear to depend on the abundance of two separate cellular components, parvalbumin interneurons and newly generated granule cells in the hippocampus.