Leptin increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis in vivo and in vitro

Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.6). 07/2008; 283(26):18238-47. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M800053200
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Leptin, an adipose-derived hormone, has been implicated in several physiological processes involving the hippocampus. However, the role of leptin in adult hippocampal neurogenesis remains unknown. Here we show that leptin regulates neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of adult mice as well as in cultured adult hippocampal progenitor cells. Chronic administration of leptin to adult mice increased cell proliferation without significant effects on the differentiation and the survival of newly proliferated cells in the dentate gyrus. The expression of the long form leptin receptor, LepRb, was detected in hippocampal progenitor cells by reverse transcription-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Leptin treatment also increased proliferation of cultured adult hippocampal progenitor cells. Analysis of signal transduction pathways revealed that leptin stimulated phosphorylation of Akt and STAT3 but not ERK1/2. Furthermore, pre-treating the cells with specific inhibitors of Akt or STAT3 attenuated leptin-induced cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner. Taken together, our results support a role for leptin in adult hippocampal neurogenesis and suggest the involvement of the Akt and STAT3 signaling pathways in mediating the actions of leptin on neurogenesis.

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