Unlocking the Role of Cell Metabolism in Adult Neurogenesis

Scientists from the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne have discovered how adult neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) can be reactivated to form new neurons. This process of adult neurogenesis is important for memory and learning, but its capacity decreases with age. The researchers have identified the role of cell metabolism in this process and how to wake up dormant NSCs.

The mitochondrial pyruvate transporter (MPC), a protein complex discovered eleven years ago in Professor Martinou’s group, plays a crucial role in this regulation.[0] Its activity affects the metabolic options a cell can use and influences the transition from quiescence to proliferation.[0]

Biologists have been able to inhibit MPC activity by using chemical inhibitors or generating mutant mice lacking the Mpc1 gene.[0] This led to the stimulation of dormant NSCs and an increase in the number of new neurons in the brains of adult and even elderly mice.

“We show that redirection of metabolic pathways can directly influence the activity state of adult NSCs and consequently the number of new neurons generated,” explains Professor Knobloch, co-lead author of the study.

These findings could lead to potential treatments for conditions such as depression or neurodegenerative diseases in the long term.[1] “These results shed new light on the role of cell metabolism in the regulation of neurogenesis,” adds Jean-Claude Martinou, co-lead author of the study.

0. “How to Generate New Neurons in the Brain” Neuroscience News, 1 Mar. 2023, https://neurosciencenews.com/matabolism-neurogenesis-22685/

1. “How to awaken neural stem cells and reactivate them?” Tech Explorist, 2 Mar. 2023, https://www.techexplorist.com/awaken-neural-stem-cells-reactivate/57248/

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