In adult mammalian brains, neural stem cells (NSCs) exist in the subventricular zone (SVZ), where persistent neurogenesis continues throughout life. Those NSCs produce neuroblasts that migrate into the olfactory bulb via formation of transit-amplifying cells, which are committed precursor cells of the neuronal lineage. In this SVZ niche, cell-cell communications conducted by diffusible factors as well as physical cell-cell contacts are important for the regulation of the proliferation and fate determination of NSCs. Previous studies have suggested that extracellular purinergic signaling, which is mediated by purine compounds such as ATP, plays important roles in cell-cell communication in the CNS. Purinergic signaling also promotes the proliferation of adult NSCs in vitro. However, the in vivo roles of purinergic signaling in the neurogenic niche still remain unknown. In this study, ATP infusion into the lateral ventricle of the mouse brain resulted in an increase in the numbers of rapidly dividing cells and Mash1-positive transit-amplifying cells (Type C cells) in the SVZ. Mash1-positive cells express the P2Y1 purinergic signaling receptor and infusion of the P2Y1 receptor-specific antagonist MRS2179 decreased the number of rapidly dividing bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive cells and Type C cells. Moreover, a 17% reduction of rapidly dividing BrdU-positive cells and a 19% reduction of Mash1-positive cells were observed in P2Y1 knock-out mice. Together, these results suggest that purinergic signaling promotes the proliferation of rapidly dividing cells and transit-amplifying cells, in the SVZ niche through the P2Y1 receptor.
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