Adult neurogenesis in the short-lived teleost Nothobranchius furzeri: localization of neurogenic niches, molecular characterization and effects of aging

Aging Cell. 2012 Apr;11(2):241-51. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2011.00781.x. Epub 2012 Jan 13.


We studied adult neurogenesis in the short-lived annual fish Nothobranchius furzeri and quantified the effects of aging on the mitotic activity of the neuronal progenitors and the expression of glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) in the radial glia. The distribution of neurogenic niches is substantially similar to that of zebrafish and adult stem cells generate neurons, which persist in the adult brain. As opposed to zebrafish, however, the N. furzeri genome contains a doublecortin (DCX) gene. Doublecortin is transiently expressed by newly generated neurons in the telencephalon and optic tectum (OT). We also analyzed the expression of the microRNA miR-9 and miR-124 and found that they have complementary expression domains: miR-9 is expressed in the neurogenic niches of the telencephalon and the radial glia of the OT, while miR-124 is expressed in differentiated neurons. The main finding of this paper is the demonstration of an age-dependent decay in adult neurogenesis. Using unbiased stereological estimates of cell numbers, we detected an almost fivefold decrease in the number of mitotically active cells in the OT between young and old age. This reduced mitotic activity is paralleled by a reduction in DCX labeling. Finally, we detected a dramatic up-regulation of GFAP in the radial glia of the aged brain. This up-regulation is not paralleled by a similar up-regulation of S100B and Musashi-1, two other markers of the radial glia. In summary, the brain of N. furzeri replicates two typical hallmarks of mammalian aging: gliosis and reduced adult neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Cell Survival
  • Fishes / metabolism*
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism