by Julia Simon-Areces, Marcelo O. Dietrich, Gretchen Hermes, Luis Miguel Garcia-Segura, Maria-Angeles Arevalo, Tamas L. Horvath
Mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) is induced by cellular stress and is involved in regulation of fuel utilization, mitochondrial bioenergetics, cell proliferation, neuroprotection and synaptogenesis in the adult brain. Here we show that natural birth in mice triggers UCP2 expression in hippocampal neurons. Chemical inhibition or genetic ablation of UCP2 lead to diminished neuronal number and size, dendritic growth and synaptogenezis in vitro and impaired complex behaviors in the adult. These data reveal a critical role for Ucp2 expression in the development of hippocampal neurons and circuits and hippocampus-related adult behaviors.