The proliferative ventricular zone in adult vertebrates: a comparative study using reptiles, birds, and mammals

Brain Res Bull. 2002 Apr;57(6):765-75. doi: 10.1016/s0361-9230(01)00769-9.


Although evidence accumulated during the last decades has advanced our understanding of adult neurogenesis in the vertebrate brain, many aspects of this intriguing phenomenon remain controversial. Here we review the organization and cellular composition of the ventricular wall of reptiles, birds, and mammals in an effort to identify differences and commonalities among these vertebrate classes. Three major cell types have been identified in the ventricular zone of reptiles and birds: migrating (Type A) cells, radial glial (Type B) cells, and ependymal (Type E) cells. Cells similar anatomically and functionally to Types A, B, and E have also been described in the ventricular wall of mammals, which contains an additional cell type (Type C) not found in reptiles or birds. The bulk of the evidence points to a role of Type B cells as primary neural precursors (stem cells) in the three classes of living amniotic vertebrates. This finding may have implications for the development of strategies for the possible treatment of human neurological disorders.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Birds / anatomy & histology
  • Birds / growth & development*
  • Birds / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Division / physiology*
  • Ependyma / metabolism
  • Ependyma / ultrastructure
  • Lateral Ventricles / growth & development*
  • Lateral Ventricles / metabolism
  • Lateral Ventricles / ultrastructure
  • Mammals / anatomy & histology
  • Mammals / growth & development*
  • Mammals / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Reptiles / anatomy & histology
  • Reptiles / growth & development*
  • Reptiles / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Telencephalon / growth & development*
  • Telencephalon / metabolism
  • Telencephalon / ultrastructure