Inhibition of Focal Adhesion Kinase Increases Adult Olfactory Stem Cell Self-Renewal and Neuroregeneration Through Ciliary Neurotrophic Factor

Document Type


Publication Date



Constant neuroregeneration in adult olfactory epithelium maintains olfactory function by basal stem cell proliferation and differentiation to replace lost olfactory sensory neurons (OSNs). Understanding the mechanisms regulating this process could reveal potential therapeutic targets for stimulating adult olfactory neurogenesis under pathological conditions and aging. Ciliary neurotrophic factor (CNTF) in astrocytes promotes forebrain neurogenesis but its function in the olfactory system is unknown. Here, we show in mouse olfactory epithelium that CNTF is expressed in horizontal basal cells, olfactory ensheathing cells (OECs) and a small subpopulation of OSNs. CNTF receptor alpha was expressed in Mash1-positive globose basal cells (GBCs) and OECs. Thus, CNTF may affect GBCs in a paracrine manner. CNTF−/− mice did not display altered GBC proliferation or olfactory function, suggesting that CNTF is not involved in basal olfactory renewal or that they developed compensatory mechanisms. Therefore, we tested the effect of increased CNTF in wild type mice. Intranasal instillation of a focal adhesion kinase (FAK) inhibitor, FAK14, upregulated CNTF expression. FAK14 also promoted GBC proliferation, neuronal differentiation and basal stem cell self-renewal but had no effective in CNTF−/− mice, suggesting that FAK inhibition promotes olfactory neuroregeneration through CNTF, making them potential targets to treat sensorineural anosmia due to OSN loss.