Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 359, Issue 1, pp 215–223 | Cite as

Wnt signalling in neuronal differentiation and development

  • Nibaldo C. InestrosaEmail author
  • Lorena Varela-NallarEmail author


Wnts are secreted glycoproteins that play multiple roles in early development, including the differentiation of precursor cells. During this period, gradients of Wnts and other morphogens are formed and regulate the differentiation and migration of neural progenitor cells. Afterwards, Wnt signalling cascades participate in the formation of neuronal circuits, playing roles in dendrite and axon development, dendritic spine formation and synaptogenesis. Finally, in the adult brain, Wnts control hippocampal plasticity, regulating synaptic transmission and neurogenesis. In this review, we summarize the reported roles of Wnt signalling cascades in these processes with a particular emphasis on the role of Wnts in neuronal differentiation and development.


Wnt signalling pathway Neural progenitor cells Neuronal differentiation Neuronal maturation Adult neurogenesis 


We thank Felipe G. Serrano (CARE, Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, P. Catholic University of Chile) for artwork. This work was supported by Grants from FONDECYT (No. 1120156) and the Basal Center of Excellence in Science and Technology (CONICYT-PFB12/2007) to N.C.I. and by a Grant from FONDECYT (No. 11110012) to L.V.-N.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Envejecimiento y Regeneración (CARE), Departamento de Biología Celular y Molecular, Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasPontificia Universidad Católica de ChileSantiagoChile
  2. 2.Center for Healthy Brain Ageing, School of Psychiatry, Faculty of MedicineUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Centro de Excelencia en Biomedicina de Magallanes (CEBIMA)Universidad de MagallanesPunta ArenasChile
  4. 4.Center for Biomedical Research, Faculty of Biological Sciences and Faculty of MedicineUniversidad Andres BelloSantiagoChile

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