Mapping of fluorescent protein-expressing neurons and axon pathways in adult and developing Thy1-eYFP-H transgenic mice

Brain Res. 2010 Jul 23;1345:59-72. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.05.061. Epub 2010 May 26.


Transgenic mouse lines in which a fluorescent protein is constitutively expressed under the Thy1 gene promoter have become important models in cell biology and pathology studies of specific neuronal populations. As a result of positional insertion and/or copy number effects on the transgene, the populations expressing the fluorescent protein (eYFP+) vary markedly among the different mice lines. However, identification of the eYFP+ subpopulations has remained sketchy and fragmentary even for the most widely used lines such as Thy1-eYFP-H mice (Feng, G., Mellor, R.H., Bernstein, M., Keller-Peck, C., Nguyen, Q.T., Wallace, M., Nerbonne, J.M., Lichtman and J.W., Sanes. J.R. 2000. Imaging neuronal subsets in transgenic mice expressing multiple spectral variants of GFP. Neuron 28, 41-51). Here, we provide a comprehensive mapping of labeled cell types throughout the central nervous system in adult and postnatal (P0-P30) Thy1-eYFP-H mice. Cell type identification was based on somatodendritic morphology, axon trajectories, and, for cortical cells, retrograde labeling with Fast Blue to distinguish between subpopulations with different axonal targets. In the neocortex, eYFP+ cells are layers 5 and 6 pyramidal neurons, whose abundance and sublaminar distribution varies markedly between areas. Labeling is particularly prevalent in the corticospinal cells; as a result, the pyramidal pathway axons are conspicuously labeled down to the spinal cord. Large populations of hippocampal, subicular and amygdaloid projection neurons are eYFP+ as well. Additional eYFP+ cell groups are located in specific brainstem nuclei. Present results provide a comprehensive reference dataset for adult and developmental studies using the Thy1-eYFP-H mice strain, and show that this animal model may be particularly suitable for studies on the cell biology of corticospinal neurons.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amidines
  • Animals
  • Axons / metabolism*
  • Brain / cytology*
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Luminescent Proteins / genetics
  • Luminescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development
  • Neural Pathways / metabolism
  • Neuronal Tract-Tracers
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Pyramidal Cells / cytology
  • Pyramidal Cells / growth & development
  • Pyramidal Cells / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Tracts / cytology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / growth & development
  • Pyramidal Tracts / metabolism
  • Spinal Cord / cytology
  • Spinal Cord / growth & development
  • Spinal Cord / metabolism
  • Thy-1 Antigens / genetics
  • Thy-1 Antigens / metabolism


  • Amidines
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Neuronal Tract-Tracers
  • Thy-1 Antigens
  • diamidino compound 253-50