Reelin Controls Granule Cell Migration in the Dentate Gyrus by Acting on the Radial Glial Scaffold

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Reelin, synthesized and secreted by Cajal–Retzius (CR) cells in the marginal zone of the cortex, is an extracellular matrix protein important for the development of cortical layers. Inreelermutant mice lacking Reelin, there are severe malformations of neocortical and hippocampal lamination. It has been assumed that Reelin acts as a stop signal for migrating neurons. Here we show, by using the dentate gyrus as a model inin vivostudies andin vitroassays, that Reelin exerts its effects, at least in part, by acting on the radial glial scaffold required for neuronal migration. Migration defects of dentate granule cells, reminiscent of those seen inreelermutants, are observed in tissue from patients with temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). The extent of granule cell dispersion in TLE was found to be inversely correlated with the number ofreelinmRNA synthesizing CR cells andreelinmRNA expression as revealed in quantitative RT–PCR studies. These findings show that the Reelin signaling pathway is essential for the correct positioning of human hippocampal neurons and that a Reelin deficiency is involved in the pathological changes associated with epilepsy.

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