Adult hippocampal neural stem cells can be activated by hippocampal neural activities. When focal cerebral ischemia, known as middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), occurs, neural stem cells are activated to promote their proliferation. However, the mechanism by which these cells are activated is still unclear. Here, we indicate the involvement of metabotropic glutamate receptor 5 (mGluR5) signaling in neural stem cells in their activity-related proliferation after MCAO. We found mGluR5 molecules on neural stem cells by using calcium imaging. We detected the activation of neural stem cells by adding the mGluR5 agonist (RS)-2-chloro-5-hydroxyphenylglycine. On a hippocampal slice, the activation of neural stem cells to promote their proliferation was initiated by theta-burst electrical stimulation at the perforant pathway, and this activation was significantly blocked by an mGluR5 antagonist, 2-methyl-6-(phenylethynyl)pyridine (MPEP). In addition to this, the injection of the blood-brain barrier-permeable mGluR5 agonist 3-cyano-N-(1,3-diphenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)benzamide into live mice promoted the proliferation of neural stem cells. Moreover, in vivo theta-burst electrical stimulation induced proliferation of neural stem cells. A chronic field recording study showed that the activity of the hippocampal formation was elevated after MCAO. Finally, we observed that the mGluR5 antagonist MPEP significantly blocked the stimulated proliferation of neural stem cells induced by MCAO, by blocking mGluR5 signaling. Our results suggest that glutamates released by the elevated neural activities after MCAO may trigger mGluR5 signaling in neural stem cells to promote their proliferation. Adult hippocampal neural stem cell can be activated by hippocampal neural activities. When focal cerebral ischemia occurs, known as middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO), neural stem cells get activated to promote its proliferation.
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