Transient receptor potential vanilloid member 4 (TRPV4) is a Ca2+ permeable nonselective cation channel, and mutations in the TRPV4 gene cause congenital skeletal dysplasias and peripheral neuropathies. Although TRPV4 is widely expressed in the brain, few studies have assessed the pathogenesis of TRPV4 mutations in the brain. We aimed to elucidate the pathological associations between a specific TRPV4 mutation and neurodevelopmental defects using dopaminergic neurons (DNs) differentiated from dental pulp stem cells (DPSCs). DPSCs were isolated from a patient with metatropic dysplasia and multiple neuropsychiatric symptoms caused by a gain-of-function TRPV4 mutation, c.1855C>T (p.L619F). The mutation was corrected by CRISPR/Cas9 to obtain isogenic control DPSCs. Mutant DPSCs differentiated into DNs without undergoing apoptosis; however, neurite development was significantly impaired in mutant vs. control DNs. Mutant DNs also showed accumulation of mitochondrial Ca2+ and reactive oxygen species, low adenosine triphosphate levels despite a high mitochondrial membrane potential, and lower peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha expression and mitochondrial content. These results suggested that the persistent Ca2+ entry through the constitutively activated TRPV4 might perturb the adaptive coordination of multiple mitochondrial functions, including oxidative phosphorylation, redox control, and biogenesis, required for dopaminergic circuit development in the brain. Thus, certain mutations in TRPV4 that are associated with skeletal dysplasia might have pathogenic effects on brain development, and mitochondria might be a potential therapeutic target to alleviate the neuropsychiatric symptoms of TRPV4-related diseases.
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