Astrocyte-specific NDRG2 gene: functions in the brain and neurological diseases

Abstract

In recent years, the roles of astrocytes of the central nervous system in brain function and neurological disease have drawn increasing attention. As a member of the N-myc downstream-regulated gene (NDRG) family, NDRG2 is principally expressed in astrocytes of the central nervous system. NDRG2, which is involved in cell proliferation and differentiation, is commonly regarded as a tumor suppressor. In astrocytes, NDRG2 affects the regulation of apoptosis, astrogliosis, blood–brain barrier integrity, and glutamate clearance. Several preclinical studies have revealed that NDRG2 is implicated in the pathogenesis of many neurological diseases not limited to tumors (mostly glioma in the nervous system), such as stroke, neurodegeneration (Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease), and psychiatric disorders (depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). This review summarizes the biological functions of NDRG2 under physiological and pathological conditions, and further discusses the roles of NDRG2 during the occurrence and development of neurological diseases.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 81601149 and 81771322), Military Youth Talent Lifting Project (No. 17-JCJQ-QT-037), Youth Talent Lifting Project of Shaanxi Province (20180305), and Natural Science Foundation of Shaanxi Province (2017JQ8038).

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Li, X., Wu, X., Luo, P. et al. Astrocyte-specific NDRG2 gene: functions in the brain and neurological diseases. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. 77, 2461–2472 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00018-019-03406-9

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Keywords

  • N-myc downstream-regulated gene
  • Astrocyte
  • Brain
  • Neurological diseases