Caveolin-1 (Cav-1) is an important modulator for adult neurogenesis in post stroke brain repair but its underlying mechanisms are largely unknown. In the present study, we report that endothelial Cav-1 inhibits neuronal differentiation of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSCs/NPCs) in post ischemic brain via regulating vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and NeuroD1 signaling pathway. We first investigated the dynamic change of Cav-1 and its impact on neuronal differentiation in rat and mouse models of 2h transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) plus 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28 day of reperfusion. We then studied the roles of endothelial Cav-1 in modulating the neuronal differentiation of NPCs which were co-cultured with brain microvascular endothelial cells (BMVECs) under 2 h oxygen-glucose deprivation plus 5 days reoxygenation (OGD/R). The major discoveries include: (1) Cav-1 expression in the hippocampal dentate gyrus was down-regulated on day 1 after 2 h cerebral ischemia, and gradually recovered with reperfusion time, accompanied with transient increased but gradually reduced neuronal differentiation of NPCs marked by doublecortin (DCX). (2) Cav-1 knockout mice exhibited the increased DCX and VEGF at the granular cell layers of hippocampal dentate gyrus in post-ischemic brains. (3) Co-cultured with BMVECs, NPCs had remarkably decreased neuronal differentiation under OGD/R. Knockdown of Cav-1 in the BMVECs increased VEGF secretion into the medium and NeuroD1 cells, and rescued the neuronal differentiation of NPCs without affecting astroglial and oligodendroglial differentiation. (4) Cav-1 exosomes released from BMVECs inhibited neuronal differentiation of NPCs via decreasing the expression of VEGF, p44/42MAPK phosphorylation and NeuronD1 upon OGD/R insults. Taken together, endothelial Cav-1 serves as a niche regulator to inhibit neuronal differentiation via negatively modulating VEGF, p44/42MAPK phosphorylation and NeuronD1 signaling pathway.
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