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Electric Signals Regulate Directional Migration of Ventral Midbrain Derived Dopaminergic Neural Progenitor Cells via Wnt / GSK3β signaling

Experimental Neurology
DOI: 10.1016/j.expneurol.2014.09.014
  • Ventral Midbrain
  • Neural Progenitor Cell
  • Dopaminergic Neurons
  • Migration
  • Electric Fields
  • Wnt / Gsk3β Signaling Pathway
  • Biology
  • Medicine
  • Pharmacology


Abstract Neural progenitor cell (NPC) replacement therapy is a promising treatment for neurodegenerative disorders including Parkinson's disease (PD). It requires a controlled directional migration and integration of NPCs, for example dopaminergic (DA) progenitor cells, into the damaged host brain tissue. There is, however, only limited understanding of how to regulate the directed migration of NPCs to the diseased or damaged brain tissues for the repair and regeneration. The aims of this study are to explore the possibility of using a physiological level of electrical stimulation to regulate the directed migration of ventral midbrain NPCs (NPCvm), and to investigate its potential regulation via GSK3β and associated downstream effectors. We tested the effects of direct-current (DC) electric fields (EFs) on the migration behaviors of the NPCvm. A DC EF induced directional cell migration towards the cathode, namely electrotaxis. Reversal of the EF polarity triggered a sharp reversal of NPCvm electrotaxis. The electrotactic response was both time and EF voltage dependent. Pharmacologically inhibiting the canonical Wnt / GSK3β pathway significantly reduced the electrotactic response of NPCvm, which is associated with the down-regulation of GSK3β phosphorylation, β-catenin activation and CLASP2 expression. This was further proved by RNA interference of GSK3β, which also showed a significantly reduced electrotactic response in association with reduced β-catenin activation and CLASP2 expression. In comparison, RNA interference of β-catenin slightly reduced electrotactic response and CLASP2 expression. Both pharmacological inhibition of Wnt / GSK3β and RNA interference of GSK3β / β-catenin clearly reduced the asymmetric redistribution of CLASP2 and its co-localization with α-tubulin. These results suggest that Wnt / GSK3β signaling contributes to the electrotactic response of NPCvm through the coordination of GSK3β phosphorylation, β-catenin activation, CLASP2 expression and asymmetric redistribution to the leading edge of the migrating cells.

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