, Volume 116, Issue 8, pp 995-1005
Date: 17 Mar 2009

The FGF-2/FGFRs neurotrophic system promotes neurogenesis in the adult brain

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Neurogenesis occurs in two regions of the adult brain, namely, the subventricular zone (SVZ) throughout the wall of the lateral ventricle and the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus (DG) in hippocampal formation. Adult neurogenesis requires several neurotrophic factors to sustain and regulate the proliferation and differentiation of the adult stem cell population. In the present review, we examine the cellular and functional aspects of a trophic system mediated by fibroblast growth factor-2 (FGF-2) and its receptors (FGFRs) related to neurogenesis in the SVZ and SGZ of the adult rat brain. In the SVZ, FGF-2 is expressed in GFAP-positive cells of SVZ but is not present in proliferating precursor cells, which instead express FGFR-1 and FGFR-2, but not FGFR-3 mRNA, although expressed in the SVZ, and FGFR-4. Therefore, it seems that in the SVZ FGF-2 may be released by GFAP-positive cells, different from the precursor cell lineage, and via volume transmission it reaches the proliferating precursor cells. FGFR-1 mRNA is also expressed in the SGZ and is localized in BrdU-labeled precursor cells, whereas FGFR-2 and FGFR-3 mRNA, although expressed in the SGZ, are not located within proliferating precursor cells. An aged-related decline of proliferating precursor cells in the SVZ and DG of old rats has been well documented, and there is the suggestion that in part it could be the consequence of alterations in growth factor expression levels. Thus, the old precursors may respond to growth factors, suggesting that during aging the basic components for neuronal precursor cell proliferation are retained and the capacity to increase neurogenesis after appropriate stimulation is still preserved. In conclusion, the trophic system mediated by FGF-2 and its receptors contributes to create an important micro-environmental niche that promotes neurogenesis in the adult and aged brain.

This article is dedicated to the special issue Brain Plasticity: Aging and Neuropychiatric Disorders.