Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the forebrain promotes neurogenesis in adult mice. We found that CNTF is normally repressed in the CNS by cell contact and increases greatly after stroke-induced neuron loss. This helped us to discover a new focal adhesion kinase (FAK)-JNK signaling pathway that is activated by ligand binding to DvE5 integrin in glia and potently inhibit their CNTF expression. Importantly, systemic treatment with pharmacological FAK inhibitors stimulates SVZ CNTF and neurogenesis. Our data show that stroke-induced neurogenesis is mediated entirely by stroke-induced CNTF, which may be counteracted by stroke-induced LIF and inflammation over the first week. In vitro, vitronectin represses CNTF and stimulates LIF, perhaps representing a vascular-derived regulator of neurogenesis. Here we will define these pathways in vivo, using a combination of available transgenic mice and pharmacological drugs in adult mice. Specifically, Aim 1a will determine whether vitronectin represses CNTF expression through the DvE5 integrin-FAK pathway in SVZ astrocytes under normal conditions. This will be done by intracerebral rescue experiments in vitronectin-/- mice, injecting integrin blocking antibodies against Dv and E5 integrin subunits, using E5 integrin-/- and inducible astroglial FAK-/- mice and defining effects on progenitors vs. neural stem cells (NSCs).
Aim 1 b will test whether this is mediated by JNK and/or other pathways, using intracerebral injections of pharmacological inhibitors and JNK-/- mice, while measuring effects on CNTF expression and neurogenesis.
Aim 2 a will determine whether stroke-induced leakage of blood-derived vitronectin causes increased LIF expression to stimulate NSC self-renewal. This will be done in a middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model by i.v. injections of vitronectin in vitronectin-/- mice.
Aim 2 b will determine whether the same integrin-FAK pathways play a role after MCAO, and whether CNTF and LIF can be regulated by FAK inhibitors.
Aim 2 c will define whether LIF is involved in repressing neurogenesis or is preconditioning the SVZ for later CNTF-induced neurogenesis.
Aim 3 a. Wwill test whether systemic FAK inhibitor treatment is more effective in inducing SVZ CNTF and neurogenesis when started after inflammation has resolved following MCAO, or Aim 3b when given intermittently. FAK acts via a different mechanism than the D2 dopamine receptor, which we showed increases SVZ neurogenesis by increasing astroglial CNTF. Therefore, Aim 3c will combine FAK inhibitor and D2 agonist to maximize CNTF expression and neurogenesis after MCAO, and determine whether this allows more new neurons to populate the injured tissue. The potential effects of these treatments on sensorimotor function will be assessed by behavioral tests.

Public Health Relevance

This grant examines the role of our newly discovered integrin signaling pathway in reducing CNTF, one of the important molecules involved in stem cell proliferation and new cell production in the normal adult brain and after stroke. We previously found that stroke causes an increase in CNTF and this so-called neurogenesis, and that we can increase both by using pharmacological drugs which block this integrin pathway. Using both genetic approaches and pharmacological drugs, we expect to identify new treatments to maximize neurogenesis for replacing lost cells or protecting surviving ones that will hopefully extend beyond stroke to treatments of other neurological disease.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Aging (NIA)
Research Project (R01)
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Acute Neural Injury and Epilepsy Study Section (ANIE)
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Wise, Bradley C
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East Tennessee State University
Other Basic Sciences
Schools of Medicine
Johnson City
United States
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Jia, Cuihong; Keasey, Matthew P; Malone, Hannah M et al. (2018) Vitronectin from brain pericytes promotes adult forebrain neurogenesis by stimulating CNTF. Exp Neurol 312:20-32
Keasey, Matthew P; Jia, Cuihong; Pimentel, Lylyan F et al. (2018) Blood vitronectin is a major activator of LIF and IL-6 in the brain through integrin-FAK and uPAR signaling. J Cell Sci 131:
Jia, Cuihong; Brown, Russell W; Malone, Hannah M et al. (2018) Ciliary neurotrophic factor is a key sex-specific regulator of depressive-like behavior in mice. Psychoneuroendocrinology 100:96-105
Banerjee, Kalpita; Keasey, Matt P; Razskazovskiy, Vladislav et al. (2017) Reduced FAK-STAT3 signaling contributes to ER stress-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and death in endothelial cells. Cell Signal 36:154-162
Keasey, Matthew P; Kang, Seong Su; Lovins, Chiharu et al. (2013) Inhibition of a novel specific neuroglial integrin signaling pathway increases STAT3-mediated CNTF expression. Cell Commun Signal 11:35
Kang, Seong Su; Keasey, Matthew Phillip; Hagg, Theo (2013) P2X7 receptor inhibition increases CNTF in the subventricular zone, but not neurogenesis or neuroprotection after stroke in adult mice. Transl Stroke Res 4:533-45
Arnold, Sheila A; Hagg, Theo (2012) Serotonin 1A receptor agonist increases species- and region-selective adult CNS proliferation, but not through CNTF. Neuropharmacology 63:1238-47
Kang, Seong Su; Keasey, Matthew P; Cai, Jun et al. (2012) Loss of neuron-astroglial interaction rapidly induces protective CNTF expression after stroke in mice. J Neurosci 32:9277-87
Kang, Seong Su; Keasey, Matthew P; Arnold, Sheila A et al. (2012) Endogenous CNTF mediates stroke-induced adult CNS neurogenesis in mice. Neurobiol Dis 49C:68-78
Hagg, Theo (2009) From neurotransmitters to neurotrophic factors to neurogenesis. Neuroscientist 15:20-7

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