Doublecortin expression levels in adult brain reflect neurogenesis

Eur J Neurosci. 2005 Jan;21(1):1-14. doi: 10.1111/j.1460-9568.2004.03813.x.


Progress in the field of neurogenesis is currently limited by the lack of tools enabling fast and quantitative analysis of neurogenesis in the adult brain. Doublecortin (DCX) has recently been used as a marker for neurogenesis. However, it was not clear whether DCX could be used to assess modulations occurring in the rate of neurogenesis in the adult mammalian central nervous system following lesioning or stimulatory factors. Using two paradigms increasing neurogenesis levels (physical activity and epileptic seizures), we demonstrate that quantification of DCX-expressing cells allows for an accurate measurement of modulations in the rate of adult neurogenesis. Importantly, we excluded induction of DCX expression during physiological or reactive gliogenesis and excluded also DCX re-expression during regenerative axonal growth. Our data validate DCX as a reliable and specific marker that reflects levels of adult neurogenesis and its modulation. We demonstrate that DCX is a valuable alternative to techniques currently used to measure the levels of neurogenesis. Importantly, in contrast to conventional techniques, analysis of neurogenesis through the detection of DCX does not require in vivo labelling of proliferating cells, thereby opening new avenues for the study of human neurogenesis under normal and pathological conditions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cell Size
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Female
  • GAP-43 Protein / metabolism
  • Ganglia, Spinal
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Indoles
  • Laminectomy / methods
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Neurofilament Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Running
  • Scopolamine
  • Seizures / chemically induced
  • Seizures / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord Injuries / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / metabolism
  • Time Factors


  • GAP-43 Protein
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Indoles
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neurofilament Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • doublecortin protein
  • neurofilament protein H
  • DAPI
  • Scopolamine
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase
  • Bromodeoxyuridine