Depressive-like behaviors by the loss of NG2 glia

Depressive-like behaviors by the loss of NG2 glia

NG2-expressing glia (NG2 glia) are a uniformly distributed and mitotically active pool of cells in the central nervous system (CNS).

In addition to serving as progenitors of myelinating oligodendrocytes, NG2 glia might also fulfill physiological roles in CNS homeostasis, although the mechanistic nature of such roles remains unclear.

Scientists in the journal Neuron report that ablation of NG2 glia in the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of the adult brain causes deficits in excitatory glutamatergic neurotransmission and astrocytic extracellular glutamate uptake and induces depressive-like behaviors in mice.

They show in parallel that chronic social stress causes NG2 glia density to decrease in areas critical to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) pathophysiology at the time of symptom emergence in stress-susceptible mice.

Finally, they demonstrate that loss of NG2 glial secretion of fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF2) suffices to induce the same behavioral deficits.

These findings outline a pathway and role for NG2 glia in CNS homeostasis and mood disorders.