Mauceri D, Freitag HE, Oliveira AM, Bengtson CP, Bading H.
Nuclear calcium-VEGFD signaling controls maintenance of dendrite arborization necessary for memory formation.
Neuron. 2011 Jul 14;71(1):117-30.
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I find this work to be very compelling. A role for VEGF in motor neuron disease was suggested by studies done on ALS and by work that we have done on spinobulbar muscular atrophy. Hence, numerous independent studies have now shown that VEGF may be a neurotrophic factor and has neuroprotective properties. This most recent work from the Bading group confirms such findings, but goes further, as they were able to show that knockdown of VEGF-D in mice resulted in impaired memory formation in vivo. While there has been interest in the potential of VEGF as a neurotherapeutic, VEGF has angiogenic properties, raising concern that it could cause side effects. These researchers report that VEGF-R3 is the receptor that likely mediates the elaboration of dendritic arbors. If this is true, then future studies aimed at defining the downstream pathway by which VEGF-R3 activation yields dendritic arborization could identify targets for therapy development, since neuroprotective pathways might be distinct from angiogenic ones.