Exp Mol Med.  2002 Dec;34(6):401-410.

Neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) promotes the differentiation of hippocampal precursor cells to a neuronal lineage, especially to a glutamatergic neural cell type

  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Hanyang University College of Medicine, 17 Haengdang-dong, Sungdong-gu, Seoul, Korea. hyeonson@hanyang.ac.kr
  • 2Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, State University of New York at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York 11794, USA.


Rat hippocampal precursor cells isolated from hippocampi of embryonic day 16.5 (E16.5) rat embryos were found to proliferate in the presence of basic fibroblast growth factor. Addition of soluble neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM) to these precursor cells reduced cell proliferation in a dose dependent manner and enhanced the induction of precursor cells' differentiation to the neuronal lineage. Given these findings that NCAM induces the differentiation of hippocampal precursor cells, we investigated possible effects of NCAM on the expression of basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors during the differentiation. Soluble NCAM upregulated the transcription of bHLH transcription factors, neurogenin1 and NeuroD, but decreased HES5. Western blot analysis showed that NCAM increased the expression levels of CaMKII, p-MAPK, GluR1 and NR1 but decreased p-STAT3. These results support a role for NCAM in the inhibition of proliferation and the induction of neural differentiation of hippocampal neural precursor cells, and act as developmental regulators of the bHLH families, ultimately leading to the generation of glutamatergic neural cell types in the differentiation of hippocampal precursor cells.


cell differentiation; hippocampus; neural cell adhesion molecules; neurons; rat; stem cells

MeSH Terms

Apoptosis/drug effects
Cell Differentiation/*drug effects
Cell Division/drug effects
Cell Lineage/drug effects
Cells, Cultured
Helix-Loop-Helix Motifs
Hippocampus/*cytology/*drug effects
Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules/*pharmacology
Neurons/cytology/*drug effects/metabolism
RNA, Messenger/genetics/metabolism
Receptors, Glutamate/*metabolism
Signal Transduction
Stem Cells/cytology/*drug effects
Transcription Factors/genetics/metabolism
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