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Tau-dependent suppression of adult neurogenesis in the stressed hippocampus

Abstract

Stress, a well-known sculptor of brain plasticity, is shown to suppress hippocampal neurogenesis in the adult brain; yet, the underlying cellular mechanisms are poorly investigated. Previous studies have shown that chronic stress triggers hyperphosphorylation and accumulation of the cytoskeletal protein Tau, a process that may impair the cytoskeleton-regulating role(s) of this protein with impact on neuronal function. Here, we analyzed the role of Tau on stress-driven suppression of neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus (DG) using animals lacking Tau (Tau-knockout; Tau-KO) and wild-type (WT) littermates. Unlike WTs, Tau-KO animals exposed to chronic stress did not exhibit reduction in DG proliferating cells, neuroblasts and newborn neurons; however, newborn astrocytes were similarly decreased in both Tau-KO and WT mice. In addition, chronic stress reduced phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)/glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK3β)/β-catenin signaling, known to regulate cell survival and proliferation, in the DG of WT, but not Tau-KO, animals. These data establish Tau as a critical regulator of the cellular cascades underlying stress deficits on hippocampal neurogenesis in the adult brain.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr Peter Davies (Albert Einstein College, NY, USA) for PHF1 antibody. IS, AJR and LP are holders of Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) Investigator grants (IF/01799/2013, IF/00883/2013, IF/01079/2014, respectively). This work was funded by FCT research grants 'PTDC/SAU-NMC/113934/2009' (IS), the Portuguese North Regional Operational Program (ON.2) under the National Strategic Reference Framework (QREN), through the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER), the Project Estratégico co-funded by FCT (PEst-C/SAU/LA0026/2013) and the European Regional Development Fund COMPETE (FCOMP-01-0124-FEDER-037298) as well as the project NORTE-01-0145-FEDER-000013, supported by the Northern Portugal Regional Operational Programme (NORTE 2020), under the Portugal 2020 Partnership Agreement, through the European Regional Development Fund (FEDER).

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Dioli, C., Patrício, P., Trindade, R. et al. Tau-dependent suppression of adult neurogenesis in the stressed hippocampus. Mol Psychiatry 22, 1110–1118 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/mp.2017.103

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