Identification and Characterization of Neuroblasts in the Subventricular Zone and Rostral Migratory Stream of the Adult Human Brain

Cell Res. 2011 Nov;21(11):1534-50. doi: 10.1038/cr.2011.83. Epub 2011 May 17.


It is of great interest to identify new neurons in the adult human brain, but the persistence of neurogenesis in the subventricular zone (SVZ) and the existence of the rostral migratory stream (RMS)-like pathway in the adult human forebrain remain highly controversial. In the present study, we have described the general configuration of the RMS in adult monkey, fetal human and adult human brains. We provide evidence that neuroblasts exist continuously in the anterior ventral SVZ and RMS of the adult human brain. The neuroblasts appear singly or in pairs without forming chains; they exhibit migratory morphologies and co-express the immature neuronal markers doublecortin, polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule and βIII-tubulin. Few of these neuroblasts appear to be actively proliferating in the anterior ventral SVZ but none in the RMS, indicating that neuroblasts distributed along the RMS are most likely derived from the ventral SVZ. Interestingly, no neuroblasts are found in the adult human olfactory bulb. Taken together, our data suggest that the SVZ maintains the ability to produce neuroblasts in the adult human brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lateral Ventricles / cytology
  • Lateral Ventricles / growth & development
  • Lateral Ventricles / metabolism*
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism
  • Tubulin / metabolism


  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Neuropeptides
  • TUBB3 protein, human
  • Tubulin
  • doublecortin protein