We examined the expression of galectin-1, an endogenous lectin with one carbohydrate-binding domain, in the adult mouse hippocampus after systemic kainate administration. We found that the expression of galectin-1 was remarkably increased in activated astrocytes of the CA3 subregion and dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, and in nestin-positive neural progenitors in the dentate gyrus. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-PCR) analysis revealed that the galectin-1 mRNA level in hippocampus began to increase 1 day after kainate administration and that a 13-fold increase was attained within 3 days. Western blotting analysis confirmed that the level of galectin-1 protein increased to more than three-fold a week after the exposure. We showed that isolated astrocytes express and secrete galectin-1. To clarify the significance of the increased expression of galectin-1 in hippocampus, we compared the levels of hippocampal cell proliferation in galectin-1 knockout and wild-type mice after saline or kainate administration. The number of 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive cells detected in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of galectin-1 knockout mice decreased to 62% with saline, and to 52% with kainate, as compared with the number seen in the wild-type mice. Most of the BrdU-positive cells in SGZ expressed doublecortin and neuron-specific nuclear protein, indicating that they are immature neurons. We therefore concluded that galectin-1 promotes basal and kainate-induced proliferation of neural progenitors in the hippocampus.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology