EGFL7 loss correlates with increased VEGF-D expression, upregulating hippocampal adult neurogenesis and improving spatial learning and memory

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review



Neural stem cells reside in the subgranular zone, a specialized neurogenic niche of the hippocampus. Throughout adulthood, these cells give rise to neurons in the dentate gyrus, playing an important role in learning and memory. Given that these core cognitive processes are disrupted in numerous disease states, understanding the underlying mechanisms of neural stem cell proliferation in the subgranular zone is of direct practical interest. Here, we report that mature neurons, neural stem cells and neural precursor cells each secrete the neurovascular protein epidermal growth factor-like protein 7 (EGFL7) to shape this hippocampal niche. We further demonstrate that EGFL7 knock-out in a Nestin-CreERT2-based mouse model produces a pronounced upregulation of neurogenesis within the subgranular zone. RNA sequencing identified that the increased expression of the cytokine VEGF-D correlates significantly with the ablation of EGFL7. We substantiate this finding with intraventricular infusion of VEGF-D upregulating neurogenesis in vivo and further show that VEGF-D knock-out produces a downregulation of neurogenesis. Finally, behavioral studies in EGFL7 knock-out mice demonstrate greater maintenance of spatial memory and improved memory consolidation in the hippocampus by modulation of pattern separation. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that both EGFL7 and VEGF-D affect neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus, with the ablation of EGFL7 upregulating neurogenesis, increasing spatial learning and memory, and correlating with increased VEGF-D expression.


Original languageEnglish
Article number54
JournalCellular and Molecular Life Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jan 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85147005731
ORCID /0000-0003-3406-4849/work/147143255
PubMed 36715759
PubMedCentral PMC9886625



  • Mice, Animals, Neural Stem Cells/metabolism, Spatial Learning, Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor D/metabolism, Cell Proliferation/physiology, Hippocampus/metabolism, Neurogenesis/genetics, Mice, Knockout, Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins/metabolism