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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Brain lipid binding protein expression in lamina-propria olfactory ensheathing cells is regulated by delta/notch-like epidermal growth factor-related receptor Westendorf, Kathryn A


The olfactory system exhibits remarkable regenerative ability in it’s neuronal population. The success of continuous neurogenesis is thought to be due, at least in part, to its unique glia – olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs). OECs bear characteristics of both peripheral and central glia, and serve to ensheath, guide and promote growth of olfactory receptor neurons (ORNs) throughout both development and adult life. Brain lipid binding protein (BLBP) is most highly expressed by radial glia during embryonic development. It is largely down-regulated in the adult CNS, but BLBP expression is retained in the adult by special subpopulations of glia, including OECs. BLBP expression is induced in radial glia via Notch signaling, but it is not known if these same mechanisms regulate BLBP expression in the adult CNS. Axonal-glial signaling is a dynamic process whereby closely apposed neuronal and glial cells regulate the growth, maintenance and plasticity of one another through direct cell-cell signaling. Delta/Notch-like EGF-related receptor (DNER) is a transmembrane protein expressed by Purkinje cells which has been implicated in the regulation of BLBP in Bergmann glia during cerebellum development through Notch1 deltex-dependent non-canonical signaling. We have found that DNER is expressed in more mature ORNs, and other exclusive subpopulations of cells within the CNS. OECs in close apposition with DNER-expressing ORNs in vivo appear to maintain the highest BLBP expression found in the nervous system through development and adulthood. Immunofluorescence shows that this close relationship between BLBP expressing cells and DNER expressing cells also appears to be retained in specialized areas such as the hippocampus, retina and spinal cord, throughout mouse CNS development as well as in the mature system. Removing DNER or axonal input in vivo decreases the robustness of OEC BLBP expression, and the number of cells in OEC culture expressing BLBP decreases rapidly with time. OEC co-culture with a DNER expressing monolayer increases the number of OECs in vitro which express BLBP, providing evidence for the regulation of BLBP expression in OECs by DNER expression in apposing ORNs.

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