Neural stem cells and neurogenesis in the adult zebrafish brain: origin, proliferation dynamics, migration and cell fate

Dev Biol. 2006 Jul 1;295(1):263-77. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2006.03.040. Epub 2006 Apr 4.


Lifelong neurogenesis in vertebrates relies on stem cells producing proliferation zones that contain neuronal precursors with distinct fates. Proliferation zones in the adult zebrafish brain are located in distinct regions along its entire anterior-posterior axis. We show a previously unappreciated degree of conservation of brain proliferation patterns among teleosts, suggestive of a teleost ground plan. Pulse chase labeling of proliferating populations reveals a centrifugal movement of cells away from their places of birth into the surrounding mantle zone. We observe tangential migration of cells born in the ventral telencephalon, but only a minor rostral migratory stream to the olfactory bulb. In contrast, the lateral telencephalic area, a domain considered homologous to the mammalian dentate gyrus, shows production of interneurons and migration as in mammals. After a 46-day chase, newborn highly mobile cells have moved into nuclear areas surrounding the proliferation zones. They often show HuC/D immunoreactivity but importantly also more specific neuronal identities as indicated by immunoreactivity for tyrosine hydroxylase, serotonin and parvalbumin. Application of a second proliferation marker allows us to recognize label-retaining, actively cycling cells that remain in the proliferation zones. The latter population meets two key criteria of neural stem cells: label retention and self renewal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen / metabolism
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Stem Cells / physiology
  • Zebrafish*


  • Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen
  • Bromodeoxyuridine