Polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), such as docosahexaenoic (DHA) and arachidonic acids (ARA) are known to be closely related to the brain development and also have beneficial effects on adult neurogenesis, learning, and mental disorders. Although PUFA were demonstrated as ligands for G protein-coupled receptor 40 (GPR40), their signaling mechanism in the brain, especially in the neurogenic niche, remains unknown. Using a monkey model of ischemia-enhanced hippocampal neurogenesis, we studied the spatial correlation between GPR40 and the phosphorylated cAMP response element-binding protein (pCREB), a transcription factor involved in adult neurogenesis, learning and memory. Furthermore, the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and its receptor tropomyosin receptor kinase B (TrkB), both being downstream gene transcripts of pCREB, were studied. Similar to the dynamic change of GPR40 as the authors reported previously, pCREB was up-regulated significantly after transient global brain ischemia on Western blots, and this was associated with an enhanced hippocampal neurogenesis. Immunofluorescence microscopic analysis showed that GPR40 and pCREB expression patterns were completely identical, and they were coexpressed in both mature and newborn neurons as well as in the astrocytes residing in the subgranular zone (SGZ). GPR40/pCREB double-positive cells significantly increased in the SGZ on day 15 after ischemia. The mature form of BDNF (mBDNF) and TrkB receptor showed no remarkable changes on Western blots, although proBDNF (precursor of mBDNF) was maximal on day 9. Immunofluorescence microscopy showed that the newborn neurons expressed BDNF, but not TrkB. These results altogether suggest that PUFA, GPR40, pCREB, and BDNF may be engaged in the same signaling pathway to promote neurogenesis in the adult primate hippocampus.
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