Brain STAT5 signaling modulates learning and memory formation

Isadora C Furigo, Helen M Melo, Natalia M Lyra E Silva, Angela M Ramos-Lobo, Pryscila D S Teixeira, Daniella C Buonfiglio, Frederick Wasinski, Eliana R Lima, Eliza Higuti, Cibele N Peroni, Paolo Bartolini, Carlos R J Soares, Martin Metzger, Fernanda G de Felice, Jose Donato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The signal transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) is a transcription factor recruited by numerous cytokines. STAT5 is important for several physiological functions, including body and tissue growth, mammary gland development, immune system and lipid metabolism. However, the role of STAT5 signaling for brain functions is still poorly investigated, especially regarding cognitive aspects. Therefore, the objective of the present study was to investigate whether brain STAT5 signaling modulates learning and memory formation. For this purpose, brain-specific STAT5 knockout (STAT5 KO) mice were studied in well-established memory tests. Initially, we confirmed a robust reduction in STAT5a and STAT5b mRNA levels in different brain structures of STAT5 KO mice. STAT5 KO mice showed no significant alterations in metabolism, growth, somatotropic axis and spontaneous locomotor activity. In contrast, brain-specific STAT5 ablation impaired learning and memory formation in the novel object recognition, Barnes maze and contextual fear conditioning tests. To unravel possible mechanisms that might underlie the memory deficits of STAT5 KO mice, we assessed neurogenesis in the hippocampus, but no significant differences were observed between groups. On the other hand, reduced insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) mRNA expression was found in the hippocampus and hypothalamus of STAT5 KO mice. These findings collectively indicate that brain STAT5 signaling is required to attain normal learning and memory. Therefore, STAT5 is an important downstream cellular mechanism shared by several cytokines to regulate cognitive functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2229-2241
Number of pages13
JournalBrain structure & function
Issue number5
Early online date19 Feb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Hippocampus
  • Hypothalamus
  • Signaling pathways
  • Cytokines
  • Growth factors


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