Blood vessels form a migratory scaffold in the rostral migratory stream

J Comp Neurol. 2009 Sep 10;516(2):94-104. doi: 10.1002/cne.22093.


In adult mice, new neurons born in the subventricular zone (SVZ), lining the lateral ventricles, migrate tangentially into the olfactory bulb along a well-delineated path, the rostral migratory stream (RMS). Neuroblasts in the RMS migrate tangentially in chains, without a recognized migratory scaffold. Here we quantitatively examine the distribution of, and relationships between, cells within the RMS, throughout its rostral-caudal extent. We show that there is a higher density of blood vessels in the RMS than in other brain regions, including areas with equal cell density, and that the orientation of blood vessels parallels the RMS throughout the caudal to rostral path. Of particular interest, migratory neuroblast chains are longitudinally aligned along blood vessels within the RMS, with over 80% of vessel length in rostral areas of the RMS apposed by neuroblasts. Electron micrographs show direct contact between endothelial cells and neuroblasts, although intervening astrocytic processes are often present. Within the RMS, astrocytes arborize extensively, extending long processes that are parallel to blood vessels and the direction of neuroblast migration. Thus, the astrocytic processes establish a longitudinal alignment within the RMS, rather than a more typical stellate shape. This complementary alignment suggests that blood vessels and astrocytes may cooperatively establish a scaffold for migrating neuroblasts, as well as provide and regulate migratory cues.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / cytology
  • Astrocytes / physiology
  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain / ultrastructure
  • Cell Count
  • Cell Movement*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / ultrastructure
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure