The progranulin (PGRN) gene is involved in sexual differentiation of the brain during the perinatal period and estrogen-induced adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Mutations in the PGRN gene are also implicated in human frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Thus, while PGRN appears to play important roles as a growth factor in the brain, the localization of PGRN-expressing cells throughout the brain has not been fully established. In the present study, we examined the localization of PGRN proteins in the brain using adult male wild-type mice and PGRN-deficient mice we had generated previously. We also evaluated age-dependent changes in PGRN expression at the mRNA and protein levels. As expected, no immunoreactivity was observed in the brains of the PGRN-deficient mice. In the wild-type mice, intense immunoreactivity was observed in several brain regions including the cingulate and piriform cortices, the pyramidal cell layer and dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, the amygdala, the ventromedial and arcuate nuclei of the hypothalamus and the Purkinje cell layer in the cerebellum. Moreover, PGRN mRNA and protein expression decreased in the cortex, hippocampus and hypothalamus in an age-dependent manner. Since many of these brain regions are involved in emotion, memory and recognition, PGRN may play roles as a growth factor in these brain functions that decline with age.
2011 Society for Reproduction and Development