Wnt5a promotes differentiation and development of adult-born neurons in the hippocampus by noncanonical Wnt signaling

Sebastian B. Arredondo, Fernanda G. Guerrero, Andrea Herrera-Soto, Joaquin Jensen-Flores, Daniel B. Bustamante, Alejandro Oñate-Ponce, Pablo Henny, Manuel Varas-Godoy, Nibaldo C. Inestrosa, Lorena Varela-Nallar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


In the adult hippocampus, new neurons are generated in the dentate gyrus. The Wnt signaling pathway regulates this process, but little is known about the endogenous Wnt ligands involved. We investigated the role of Wnt5a on adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Wnt5a regulates neuronal morphogenesis during embryonic development, and maintains dendritic architecture of pyramidal neurons in the adult hippocampus. Here, we determined that Wnt5a knockdown in the mouse dentate gyrus by lentivirus-mediated shRNA impaired neuronal differentiation of progenitor cells, and reduced dendritic development of adult-born neurons. In cultured adult hippocampal progenitors (AHPs), Wnt5a knockdown reduced neuronal differentiation and morphological development of AHP-derived neurons, whereas treatment with Wnt5a had the opposite effect. Interestingly, no changes in astrocytic differentiation were observed in vivo or in vitro, suggesting that Wnt5a does not affect fate-commitment. By using specific inhibitors, we determined that Wnt5a signals through CaMKII to induce neurogenesis, and promotes dendritic development of newborn neurons through activating Wnt/JNK and Wnt/CaMKII signaling. Our results indicate Wnt5a as a niche factor in the adult hippocampus that promotes neuronal differentiation and development through activation of noncanonical Wnt signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)422-436
Number of pages15
JournalStem Cells
Issue number3
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2019


  • adult neurogenesis
  • differentiation
  • hippocampus
  • Wnt signaling
  • Wnt5a

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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