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J Neurosci. 2011 Mar 16;31(11):3981-9. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3617-10.2011.

Complement receptor 2 is expressed in neural progenitor cells and regulates adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California 94305, USA.


Injury and inflammation are potent regulators of adult neurogenesis. As the complement system forms a key immune pathway that may also exert critical functions in neural development and neurodegeneration, we asked whether complement receptors regulate neurogenesis. We discovered that complement receptor 2 (CR2), classically known as a coreceptor of the B-lymphocyte antigen receptor, is expressed in adult neural progenitor cells (NPCs) of the dentate gyrus. Two of its ligands, C3d and interferon-α (IFN-α), inhibited proliferation of wild-type NPCs but not NPCs derived from mice lacking Cr2 (Cr2(-/-)), indicating functional Cr2 expression. Young and old Cr2(-/-) mice exhibited prominent increases in basal neurogenesis compared with wild-type littermates, whereas intracerebral injection of C3d resulted in fewer proliferating neuroblasts in wild-type than in Cr2(-/-) mice. We conclude that Cr2 regulates hippocampal neurogenesis and propose that increased C3d and IFN-α production associated with brain injury or viral infections may inhibit neurogenesis.

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