Facts and fictions regarding post-natal neurogenesis in the developing human cerebral cortex

J Theor Biol. 1999 Oct 7;200(3):291-7. doi: 10.1006/jtbi.1999.0992.


In a recent paper (Shankle et al., 1998a), post-natal neurogenesis in the human cerebral cortex was discussed. Based on re-calculations of morphometric data from the literature, the authors concluded an average 1.1% monthly increase in post-natal cortical neuron number between post-natal months 15-72. The present paper makes clear by discussing four main assumptions done by Shankle et al., i.e. shrinkage of the tissue, morphometric features of the neurons under study, conversion of cell densities per area to number per unit volume and estimation of coefficients of variation, that their final conclusion about an increase in neuron number is unsound. Furthermore, five points are discussed here that Shankle et al. had mentioned in order to demonstrate that the pulse thymidine labeling method is less reliable than some have assumed. The present paper refute these assumptions point by point. Thus, the Shankle et al. paper does not provide scientifically valid evidence of a post-natal neurogenesis in the developing human cerebral cortex.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Autoradiography
  • Cell Count
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*