Adult neurogenesis and neuronal regeneration in the brain of teleost fish

J Physiol Paris. Jul-Nov 2008;102(4-6):357-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jphysparis.2008.10.007. Epub 2008 Oct 17.


Whereas adult neurogenesis appears to be a universal phenomenon in the vertebrate brain, enormous differences exist in neurogenic potential between "lower" and "higher" vertebrates. Studies in the gymnotiform fish Apteronotus leptorhynchus and in zebrafish have indicated that the relative number of new cells, as well as the number of neurogenic sites, are at least one, if not two, orders of magnitude larger in teleosts than in mammals. In teleosts, these neurogenic sites include brain regions homologous to the mammalian hippocampus and olfactory bulb, both of which have consistently exhibited neurogenesis in all species examined thus far. The source of the new cells in the teleostean brain are intrinsic stem cells that give rise to both glial cells and neurons. In several brain regions, the young cells migrate, guided by radial glial fibers, to specific target areas where they integrate into existing neural networks. Approximately half of the new cells survive for the rest of the fish's life, whereas the other half are eliminated through apoptotic cell death. A potential mechanism regulating development of the new cells is provided by somatic genomic alterations. The generation of new cells, together with elimination of damaged cells through apoptosis, also enables teleost fish rapid and efficient neuronal regeneration after brain injuries. Proteome analysis has identified a number of proteins potentially involved in the individual regenerative processes. Comparative analysis has suggested that differences between teleosts and mammals in the growth of muscles and sensory organs are key to explain the differences in adult neurogenesis that evolved during phylogenetic development of the two taxa.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Fishes / anatomy & histology*
  • Nerve Regeneration / physiology*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*