Unique neuronal tracers show migration and differentiation of SVZ progenitors in organotypic slices

J Neurobiol. 2001 Dec;49(4):326-38. doi: 10.1002/neu.10012.


Continual neurogenesis in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of postnatal and adult mammalian forebrain has been well documented, but the mechanisms underlying cell migration and differentiation in this region are poorly understood. We have developed novel in vivo and in vitro methods to investigate these processes. Using stereotaxic injections of a variety of tracers/tracker [Cholera Toxin beta subunit (CTb-), Fluorogold (FG), and Cell Tracker Green (CTG)], we could efficiently label SVZ cells. Over several days, labeled cells migrate along the rostral migratory stream (RMS) to their final differentiation site in the olfactory bulb (OB). The compatibility of these tracers/trackers with immunohistochemistry allows for cell labeling with multiple dyes (e.g., CTb and CTG) and/or specific cell antigens. To investigate the dynamics of migration we labeled SVZ progenitor cells with small injections of CTG and monitored the movements of individual cells in fresh parasagittal brain slices over several hours using time-lapse confocal microscopy. Our observations suggest that tangential cell migration along the RMS occurs more rapidly than radial cell migration into the OB granule cell layer. To investigate migration over longer time periods, we developed an in vitro organotypic slice in which labeled SVZ progenitors migrate along the RMS and differentiate within the OB. The phenotypic characteristics of these cells in vitro were equivalent to those observed in vivo. Taken together, these methods provide useful tools investigating cell migration and differentiation in a preparation that maintains the anatomical organization of the RMS.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology
  • Dextrans
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / physiology*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Prosencephalon / cytology
  • Prosencephalon / physiology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Stereotaxic Techniques
  • Stilbamidines*


  • 2-hydroxy-4,4'-diamidinostilbene, methanesulfonate salt
  • Dextrans
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Stilbamidines
  • biotinylated dextran amine
  • Biotin