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.
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