Wnts Are Expressed in the Ependymal Region of the Adult Spinal Cord.
Gonzalez-Fernandez C, Arevalo-Martin A, Paniagua-Torija B, Ferrer I, Rodriguez FJ, Garcia-Ovejero
The Wnt family of proteins plays key roles during central nervous system development and in several physiological processes during adulthood. Recently, experimental evidence has linked Wnt-related genes to regulation and maintenance of stem cells in the adult neurogenic niches. In the spinal cord, the ependymal cells surrounding the central canal form one of those niches, but little is known about their Wnt expression patterns. Using microdissection followed by TaqMan® low-density arrays, we show here that the ependymal regions of young, mature rats and adult humans express several Wnt-related genes, including ligands, conventional and non-conventional receptors, co-receptors, and soluble inhibitors. We found 13 genes shared between rats and humans, 4 exclusively expressed in rats and 9 expressed only in humans. Also, we observed a reduction with age on spontaneous proliferation of ependymal cells in rats paralleled by a decrease in the expression of Fzd1, Fzd8, and Fzd9. Our results suggest a role for Wnts in the regulation of the adult spinal cord neurogenic niche and provide new data on the specific differences in this region between humans and rodents.