A glia-derived signal regulating neuronal differentiation

O. Blondel, C. Collin, W. J. McCarran, S. Zhu, R. Zamostiano, I. Gozes, D. E. Brenneman, R. D.G. McKay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Astrocytes are present in large numbers in the nervous system, are associated with synapses, and propagate ionic signals. Astrocytes influence neuronal physiology by responding to and releasing neurotransmitters, but the mechanisms that establish the close interaction between these cells are not defined. Here we use hippocampal neurons in culture to demonstrate that vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) promotes neuronal differentiation through activity-dependent neurotrophic factor (ADNF), a protein secreted by VIP-stimulated astroglia. ADNF is produced by glial cells and acts directly on neurons to promote glutamate responses and morphological development. ADNF causes secretion of neurotrophin 3 (NT-3), and both proteins regulate NMDA receptor subunit 2A (NR2A) and NR2B. These data suggest that the VIP-ADNF-NT-3 neuronal-glial pathway regulates glutamate responses from an early stage in the synaptic development of excitatory neurons and may also contribute to the known effects of VIP on learning and behavior in the adult nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8012-8020
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • ADNF
  • Glia
  • Hippocampus
  • NT-3
  • Synapse
  • VIP


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