Developmental profiling of postnatal dentate gyrus progenitors provides evidence for dynamic cell-autonomous regulation

Hippocampus. 2011 Jan;21(1):33-47. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20719.


The dentate gyrus of the hippocampus is one of the most prominent regions in the postnatal mammalian brain where neurogenesis continues throughout life. There is tremendous speculation regarding the potential implications of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, though it remains unclear to what extent this ability becomes attenuated during normal aging, and what genetic changes in the progenitor population ensue over time. Using defined elements of the nestin promoter, we developed a transgenic mouse that reliably labels neural stem and early progenitors with green fluorescent protein (GFP). Using a combination of immunohistochemical and flow cytometry techniques, we characterized the progenitor cells within the dentate gyrus and created a developmental profile from postnatal day 7 (P7) until 6 months of age. In addition, we demonstrate that the proliferative potential of these progenitors is controlled at least in part by cell-autonomous cues. Finally, to identify what may underlie these differences, we performed stem cell-specific microarrays on GFP-expressing sorted cells from isolated P7 and postnatal day 28 (P28) dentate gyrus. We identified several differentially expressed genes that may underlie the functional differences that we observe in neurosphere assays from sorted cells and differentiation assays at these different ages. These data suggest that neural progenitors from the dentate gyrus are differentially regulated by cell-autonomous factors that change over time.

Keywords: brain development; hippocampus; microarray; neural stem cell.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Separation
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Neural Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction