Differentiation of newly born neurons and glia in the dentate gyrus of the adult rat

Neuroscience. 1993 Sep;56(2):337-44. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(93)90335-d.


In order to determine whether newly born cells in the dentate gyrus of the adult rat express the neuronal marker, neuron-specific enolase, or the glial marker, glial fibrillary acidic protein, we performed combined immunohistochemistry and autoradiography on brains from adult rats perfused at various times ranging from 1 h to four weeks following [3H]thymidine administration. Light-microscopic examination revealed a negligible number of [3H]thymidine-labeled cells showing neuron-specific enolase immunoreactivity during mitosis. However, by two weeks after [3H]thymidine administration, a significant increase in the density of [3H]thymidine-labeled neuron-specific enolase-immunoreactive cells was detected. Three weeks following [3H]thymidine injection the majority of [3H]thymidine-labeled cells (> 70%) were immunoreactive for the neuronal marker. At the four-week time-point, [3H]thymidine-labeled neuron-specific enolase-immunoreactive cells were indistinguishable from neighboring granule cells. In contrast, glial fibrillary acidic protein immunoreactivity was observed in a small but significant number of [3H]thymidine cells at the 1-h time-point and the proportion of labeled cells that were immunoreactive for this cell marker did not increase with time. [3H]Thymidine-labeled cells that were immunoreactive for glial fibrillary acidic protein typically showed morphologic characteristics of radial glia at all time-points. At the 1-h time-point, the majority of [3H]thymidine-labeled cells were observed in the hilus (> 60%) with the remainder being located in the granule cell layer. However, with a four-week survival-time most [3H]thymidine-labeled cells (> 85%) were located in the granule cell layer. The majority of newly born cells in the adult dentate gyrus differentiate into neurons.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Cellular Senescence
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein / analysis*
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Male
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / analysis*
  • Neuroglia / chemistry
  • Neuroglia / cytology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / enzymology
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / analysis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Biomarkers
  • Glial Fibrillary Acidic Protein
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase