Exploiting the dynamics of S-phase tracers in developing brain: interkinetic nuclear migration for cells entering versus leaving the S-phase

Dev Neurosci. 2000;22(1-2):44-55. doi: 10.1159/000017426.


Two S-phase markers for in vivo studies of cell proliferation in the developing central nervous system, tritiated thymidine ((3)H-TdR) and bromodeoxyuridine (BUdR), were compared using double-labeling techniques in the developing mouse cortex at embryonic day 14 (E14). The labeling efficiencies and detectability of the two tracers were approximately equivalent, and there was no evidence of significant tracer interactions that depend on order of administration. For both tracers, the loading time needed to label an S-phase cell to detectability is estimated at <0.2 h shortly after the injection of the label, but, as the concentration of the label falls, it increases to approximately 0.65 h after about 30 min. Thereafter, cells that enter the S-phase continue to become detectably labeled for approximately 5-6 h. The approximate equivalence of these two tracers was exploited to observe directly the numbers and positions of nuclei entering (labeled with the second tracer only) and leaving (labeled with the first tracer only) the S-phase. As expected, the numbers of nuclei entering and leaving the S-phase both increased as the interval between the two injections lengthened. Also, nuclei leaving the S-phase rapidly move towards the ventricular surface during G2, but, unexpectedly, the distribution of the entering nuclei does not differ significantly from the distribution of the nuclei in the S-phase. This indicates that: (1) the extent and rate of abventricular nuclear movement during G1 is variable, such that not all nuclei traverse the entire width of the ventricular zone, and (2) interkinetic nuclear movements are minimal during S-phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / physiology
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • S Phase / physiology*
  • Thymidine


  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Thymidine