Elevation of Brain Magnesium Potentiates Neural Stem Cell Proliferation in the Hippocampus of Young and Aged Mice


  • Conflicts of interest: All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


In the adult brain, neural stem cells (NSCs) can self-renew and generate all neural lineage types, and they persist in the sub-granular zone (SGZ) of the hippocampus and the sub-ventricular zone (SVZ) of the cortex. Here, we show that dietary-supplemented - magnesium-L-threonate (MgT), a novel magnesium compound designed to elevate brain magnesium regulates the NSC pool in the adult hippocampus. We found that administration of both short- and long-term regimens of MgT, increased the number of hippocampal NSCs. We demonstrated that in young mice, dietary supplementation with MgT significantly enhanced NSC proliferation in the SGZ. Importantly, in aged mice that underwent long-term (12-month) supplementation with MgT, MgT did not deplete the hippocampal NSC reservoir but rather curtailed the age-associated decline in NSC proliferation. We further established an association between extracellular magnesium concentrations and NSC self-renewal in vitro by demonstrating that elevated Mg2+ concentrations can maintain or increase the number of cultured hippocampal NSCs. Our study also suggests that key signaling pathways for cell growth and proliferation may be candidate targets for Mg2+'s effects on NSC self-renewal. J. Cell. Physiol. 231: 1903–1912, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.