Wnt signaling modulates pre- and postsynaptic maturation: Therapeutic considerations

Authors

  • Ginny G. Farías,

    1. Centro de Envejecimiento y Regeneración (CARE), Centro de Regulación Celular y Patología “Joaquín V. Luco” (CRCP), Instituto Milenio (MIFAB), Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
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  • Juan A. Godoy,

    1. Centro de Envejecimiento y Regeneración (CARE), Centro de Regulación Celular y Patología “Joaquín V. Luco” (CRCP), Instituto Milenio (MIFAB), Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
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  • Waldo Cerpa,

    1. Centro de Envejecimiento y Regeneración (CARE), Centro de Regulación Celular y Patología “Joaquín V. Luco” (CRCP), Instituto Milenio (MIFAB), Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
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  • Lorena Varela-Nallar,

    1. Centro de Envejecimiento y Regeneración (CARE), Centro de Regulación Celular y Patología “Joaquín V. Luco” (CRCP), Instituto Milenio (MIFAB), Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
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  • Nibaldo C. Inestrosa

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro de Envejecimiento y Regeneración (CARE), Centro de Regulación Celular y Patología “Joaquín V. Luco” (CRCP), Instituto Milenio (MIFAB), Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile
    • CARE & CRCP Biomedical Center, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Alameda 340, PO-Box 8331010, Santiago, Chile
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Abstract

Wnt signaling regulates a wealth of aspects of nervous system development and function in embryonic stages and in adulthood. The expression of Wnt ligands and components of the Wnt signaling machinery in early stages of neural development has been related to its role in neurite patterning and in synaptogenesis. Moreover, its expression in the mature nervous system suggests a role for this pathway in synaptic maintenance and function. Therefore, it is of crucial relevance the understanding of the mechanisms by which Wnt signaling regulates these processes. Herein, we discuss how different Wnt ligands, acting through different Wnt signaling pathways, operate in pre- and postsynaptic regions to modulate synapse structure and function. We also elaborate on the idea that Wnt signaling pathways are a target for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases that affect synaptic integrity, such as Alzheimer's disease. Developmental Dynamics 239:94–101, 2010. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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