Tracking cell-type-specific temporal dynamics in human and mouse brains

Cell. 2023 Sep 28;186(20):4345-4364.e24. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2023.08.042.


Progenitor cells are critical in preserving organismal homeostasis, yet their diversity and dynamics in the aged brain remain underexplored. We introduced TrackerSci, a single-cell genomic method that combines newborn cell labeling and combinatorial indexing to characterize the transcriptome and chromatin landscape of proliferating progenitor cells in vivo. Using TrackerSci, we investigated the dynamics of newborn cells in mouse brains across various ages and in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Our dataset revealed diverse progenitor cell types in the brain and their epigenetic signatures. We further quantified aging-associated shifts in cell-type-specific proliferation and differentiation and deciphered the associated molecular programs. Extending our study to the progenitor cells in the aged human brain, we identified conserved genetic signatures across species and pinpointed region-specific cellular dynamics, such as the reduced oligodendrogenesis in the cerebellum. We anticipate that TrackerSci will be broadly applicable to unveil cell-type-specific temporal dynamics in diverse systems.

Keywords: aging; cell-type-specific; neurogenesis; oligodendrogenesis; single-cell epigenome; single-cell transcriptome; temporal dynamics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Brain* / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Epigenomics
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Stem Cells*
  • Transcriptome


  • Chromatin