Localization of epidermal growth factor receptors and putative neuroblasts in human subependymal zone

J Comp Neurol. 2000 Jul 31;423(3):359-72. doi: 10.1002/1096-9861(20000731)423:3<359::aid-cne1>3.0.co;2-0.


Studies in rodents and monkeys suggest that neuronal precursor cells continue to exist and differentiate well into adulthood in these species. These results challenge the long held assumption that neurogenesis does not occur in the postnatal human brain. We examined the rostral subependymal zone (SEZ) of postnatal human brain for expression of cell phenotypic markers that have been associated with neuronal precursors and neuroblasts in rodent brain. We found epidermal growth factor receptor (EGF-R) mRNA and protein to be expressed in infant, teen, young adult, and adult human SEZ. Some SEZ cells expressed the polysialic acid form of neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM), characteristic of migrating neuroblasts, as well as class III beta-tubulin and Hu protein, characteristic of neuroblasts and early neurons. These neuroblast-like cells were negative for glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), 2;,3;-cyclic nucleotide 3;-phosphohydrolase (CNPase), and vimentin, suggesting that they were not differentiating as glia. Our results show that neuroblast-like cells exist in the human SEZ and support the theory that SEZ of postnatal human brain has neurogenic potential.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 2',3'-Cyclic-Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases / analysis
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Movement
  • Child, Preschool
  • ELAV Proteins
  • Ependyma / chemistry*
  • Ependyma / enzymology
  • ErbB Receptors / analysis*
  • ErbB Receptors / genetics*
  • ErbB Receptors / immunology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Humans
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1*
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / analysis
  • Neuroglia / chemistry
  • Neurons / chemistry*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / enzymology
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / analysis
  • Sialic Acids / analysis
  • Tubulin / analysis


  • Biomarkers
  • ELAV Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecule L1
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Sialic Acids
  • Tubulin
  • polysialyl neural cell adhesion molecule
  • ErbB Receptors
  • 2',3'-Cyclic-Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases