The global incidence of age-associated neurological diseases is expected to rise with increasingly greying societies. In the aged brain, there is a dramatic decrease in the number of stem cells, which is a main cause for the decrease in brain function. Intrinsic factors, such as cell metabolism, have been studied but its role in neurogenesis is still unknown. Therefore, this study sought to establish whether AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling does indeed regulate hippocampal neurogenesis in the aged brain. We found that i) AMPKα2 was the predominant catalytic subunit in the subgranular and subventricular zones; ii) AMPK activation was at a significantly higher level in the aged vs. young hippocampus; iii) short term (7 days) treatment with selective AMPK signaling inhibitor Compound C (10 mg/kg/day, i.p.) significantly increased the numbers of newborn (BrdU+), Type 2 (MCM2+), and Type 3 (DCX+) neural stem cells, but not Type 1 (GFAP+/Sox2+) cells, in the aged hippocampus. Taken together, our results demonstrate that AMPK signaling plays a critical role in the age-related decline of hippocampal neurogenesis.
- Compound C
- Stem cell