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ProNGF Controls Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis

To explore the role of proNGF, the precursor of nerve growth factor (NGF), on the biology of adult neural stem cells (NSCs), researchers from the labs of Antonino Cattaneo (European Brain Research Institute) and Raffaella Scardigli (National Council of Research – Institute of Translational Pharmacology, Rome, Italy) analyzed adult hippocampal neurogenesis in AD11 transgenic mice. This model exhibits the constitutive expression of an anti‐NGF antibody, thereby leading to an imbalance of proNGF over mature NGF. Reporting in STEM CELLS, Corvaglia et al. now identify proNGF as a specific mitogenic factor for the proliferation of adult hippocampal NSCs and also in induced neural stem cells (iNS), a result which may foster the development of future therapeutic approaches based on the stimulation of endogenous adult neurogenesis or cell‐reprogramming protocols.