Mechano growth factor, a splice variant of IGF-1, promotes neurogenesis in the aging mouse brain

Jason J. Tang, Jewel L. Podratz, Miranda Lange, Heidi J. Scrable, Mi Hyeon Jang, Anthony J. Windebank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Mechano growth factor (MGF) is a splice variant of IGF-1 first described in skeletal muscle. MGF induces muscle cell proliferation in response to muscle stress and injury. In control mice we found endogenous expression of MGF in neurogenic areas of the brain and these levels declined with age. To better understand the role of MGF in the brain, we used transgenic mice that constitutively overexpressed MGF from birth. MGF overexpression significantly increased the number of BrdU+ proliferative cells in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus and subventricular zone (SVG). Although MGF overexpression increased the overall rate of adult hippocampal neurogenesis at the proliferation stage it did not alter the distribution of neurons at post-mitotic maturation stages. We then used the lac-operon system to conditionally overexpress MGF in the mouse brain beginning at 1, 3 and 12 months with histological and behavioral observation at 24 months of age. With conditional overexpression there was an increase of BrdU+ proliferating cells and BrdU+ differentiated mature neurons in the olfactory bulbs at 24 months when overexpression was induced from 1 and 3 months of age but not when started at 12 months. This was associated with preserved olfactory function. In vitro, MGF increased the size and number of neurospheres harvested from SVZ-derived neural stem cells (NSCs). These findings indicate that MGF overexpression increases the number of neural progenitor cells and promotes neurogenesis but does not alter the distribution of adult newborn neurons at post-mitotic stages. Maintaining youthful levels of MGF may be important in reversing age-related neuronal loss and brain dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number23
JournalMolecular brain
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 7 2017


  • Aging
  • Insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I)
  • Mechano growth factor (MGF)
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neuroprotection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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