Throughout life, the anterior part of the postnatal rodent subventricular zone (SVZa), surrounding the lateral ventricles, contains a prolific source of neuronal progenitor cells that retain their capacity to concurrently generate neurons and migrate along the rostral migratory stream (RMS) to the olfactory bulb, where they differentiate into interneurons. This study was designed to determine whether the SVZ and RMS of the postnatal primate also harbor a specialized population of neuronal progenitors with the capacity to divide while they migrate. In order to reveal the spatial-temporal changes in the distribution and composition of the neuronal progenitor cells in the primate SVZ and RMS, seven rhesus monkeys, ranging in age from 2 days to 8 years, were given a single injection of the cell proliferation marker bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) 3 h before they were perfused. The phenotypic identity of the BrdU(+) cells was revealed by double labeling sagittal sections with cell type-specific markers. From birth onward the distribution of BrdU(+) cells with a neuronal phenotype is extensive and largely overlapping with that of the rodent. Similar to the rodent brain the neuronal progenitors are most numerous in neonates. The BrdU(+) neurons in the primate forebrain extend lateral and ventral to the lateral ventricle and all along the RMS. The cytoarchitectonic arrangement and appearance of the neuronal progenitor cells is quite varied in the primate compared to the rodent; in some locations the cells are aligned in parallel arrays resembling the neuronal chains of the adult rodent RMS, whereas in other positions the cells have a homogeneous "honeycomb" arrangement. The chains are progressively more pervasive in older primates. Akin to the RMS of adult rodents, in the primate SVZ and RMS the astrocytes often form long tubes enveloping the chains of neuronal progenitors. Our study demonstrates that the primate forebrain, similar to the rodent forebrain, harbors a specialized population of mitotically active neuronal progenitor cells that undergo extensive rearrangements while continuing to proliferate throughout life.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.