All aging individuals will develop some degree of decline in cognitive capacity as time progresses. The molecular and cellular mechanisms leading to age-related cognitive decline are still not fully understood. Through our previous research, we discovered that active neural progenitor cells selectively become more quiescent in response to aging, thus leading to the decline of neurogenesis in the aged hippocampus. Here, we further find that aging impaired dendrite development of newborn neurons. Currently, no effective approach is available to increase neurogenesis or promote dendrite development of newborn neurons in the aging brain. We found that systemically administration of 7, 8-dihydroxyflavone (DHF), a small molecule imitating brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), significantly enhanced dendrite length in the newborn neurons, while it did not promote survival of immature neurons, in the hippocampus of 12-month-old mice. DHF-promoted dendrite development of newborn neurons in the hippocampus may enhance their function in the aging animal leading to a possible improvement in cognition.
- brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling
- dendritic morphology
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology