Metformin Acts on Two Different Molecular Pathways to Enhance Adult Neural Precursor Proliferation/Self-Renewal and Differentiation

Michael Fatt, Karolynn Hsu, Ling He, Fredric Wondisford, Freda D. Miller, David R. Kaplan, Jing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The recruitment of endogenous adult neural stem cells for brain repair is a promising regenerative therapeutic strategy. This strategy involves stimulation of multiple stages of adult neural stem cell development, including proliferation, self-renewal, and differentiation. Currently, there is a lack of a single therapeutic approach that can act on these multiple stages of adult neural stem cell development to enhance neural regeneration. Here we show that metformin, an FDA-approved diabetes drug, promotes proliferation, self-renewal, and differentiation of adult neural precursors (NPCs). Specifically, we show that metformin enhances adult NPC proliferation and self-renewal dependent upon the p53 family member and transcription factor TAp73, while it promotes neuronal differentiation of these cells by activating the AMPK-aPKC-CBP pathway. Thus, metformin represents an optimal candidate neuro-regenerative agent that is capable of not only expanding the adult NPC population but also subsequently driving them toward neuronal differentiation by activating two distinct molecular pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)988-995
Number of pages8
JournalStem Cell Reports
Volume5
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 8 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

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