The p75 neurotrophin receptor regulates hippocampal neurogenesis and related behaviours
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Although changes to neural circuitry are believed to underlie behavioural characteristics mediated by the hippocampus, the contribution of neurogenesis to this process remains controversial. This is partially because the molecular regulators of neurogenesis remain to be fully elucidated, and experiments generically preventing neurogenesis have, for the most part, depended on paradigms involving irradiation. Here we show that mice lacking the p75 neurotrophin receptor (p75NTR-/-) have 25% fewer neuroblasts and 50% fewer newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus, coincident with increased rates of cell death of newly born cells and a significantly smaller granular cell layer and dentate gyrus, than those of p75NTR+/+ mice. Whereas p75NTR-/- mice had increased latency to feed in a novelty-suppressed feeding paradigm they had increased mobility in another test of "depression", the tail-suspension test. p75NTR-/- mice also had subtle behavioural impairment in Morris water maze tasks compared to wild-type animals. No difference between genotypes was found in relation to anxiety or exploration behaviour based on the elevated-plus maze, light-dark, hole-board, T-maze or forced-swim tests. Overall, this study demonstrates that p75NTR is an important regulator of hippocampal neurogenesis, with concomitant effects on associated behaviours. However, the behavioural attributes of the p75NTR-/- mice may be better explained by altered circuitry driven by the loss of p75NTR in the basal forebrain, rather than direct changes to neurogenesis.
European Journal of Neuroscience