Transgenic mouse models for studying adult neurogenesis

Front Biol (Beijing). 2016 Jun;11(3):151-167. doi: 10.1007/s11515-016-1405-3. Epub 2016 Jun 28.


The mammalian hippocampus shows a remarkable capacity for continued neurogenesis throughout life. Newborn neurons, generated by the radial neural stem cells (NSCs), are important for learning and memory as well as mood control. During aging, the number and responses of NSCs to neurogenic stimuli diminish, leading to decreased neurogenesis and age-associated cognitive decline and psychiatric disorders. Thus, adult hippocampal neurogenesis has garnered significant interest because targeting it could be a novel potential therapeutic strategy for these disorders. However, if we are to use neurogenesis to halt or reverse hippocampal-related pathology, we need to understand better the core molecular machinery that governs NSC and their progeny. In this review, we summarize a wide variety of mouse models used in adult neurogenesis field, present their advantages and disadvantages based on specificity and efficiency of labeling of different cell types, and review their contribution to our understanding of the biology and the heterogeneity of different cell types found in adult neurogenic niches.

Keywords: adult neurogenesis; lineage tracing; mouse models; neural stem cells; neuroprogenitors.