Glycoprotein nonmelanoma protein B (GPNMB, alias osteoactivin), a type I transmembrane glycoprotein, is cleaved by extracellular proteases, resulting in release of an extracellular fragment (ECF). GPNMB is widely expressed by neurons within the CNS, including the hippocampus; however, its function in the brain remains unknown. Here, we investigated the role of GPNMB in memory and learning by using transgenic (Tg) mice over-expressing GPNMB (Tg mice on a BDF-1 background) and ECF-treated mice. In the hippocampus of both wild-type and Tg mice, GPNMB was highly expressed in neurons and astrocytes. Tg mice exhibited memory improvements in two types of learning tasks but were impaired in a passive-avoidance test. In Tg mice, the hippocampus displayed increased levels of the α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methylisoxazole-4-propionate receptor subunit GluA1. Intracerebroventricular administration of ECF (50 ng) to Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice also improved memory in a passive-avoidance test and increased hippocampal GluA1 levels 24 h after treatment. In Tg mice and ECF (0.25 μg/mL)-treated hippocampal slices, long-term potentiation was promoted. These findings suggest that GPNMB may be a novel target for research on higher order brain functions.
- AMPA receptor subunit GluA1
- Glycoprotein nonmelanosoma protein B (GPNMB)
- memory improvement