Postnatal cellular contributions of the hippocampus subventricular zone to the dentate gyrus, corpus callosum, fimbria, and cerebral cortex

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The rodent dentate gyrus (DG) is formed in the embryo when progenitor cells migrate from the dentate neuroepithelium to establish a germinal zone in the hilus and a secondary germinal matrix, near the fimbria, called the hippocampal subventricular zone (HSVZ). The developmental plasticity of progenitors within the HSVZ is not well understood. To delineate the migratory routes and fates of progenitors within this zone, we injected a replication-incompetent retrovirus, encoding the enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP), into the HSVZ of postnatal day 5 (P5) mice. Between P6 and P45, retrovirally-infected EGFP+ of progenitors migrated into the DG, established a reservoir of progenitor cells, and differentiated into neurons and glia. By P6-7, EGFP+ cells were observed migrating into the DG. Subsets of these EGFP+ cells expressed Sox2 and Musashi-1, characteristic of neural stem cells. By P10, EGFP+ cells assumed positions within the DG and expressed immature neuronal markers. By P20, many EGFP+ cells expressed the homeobox prospero-like protein Prox1, an early and specific granule cell marker in the CNS, and extended mossy fiber projections into the CA3. A subset of non-neuronal EGFP+ cells in the dentate gyrus acquired the morphology of astrocytes. Another subset included EGFP+/RIP+ oligodendrocytes that migrated into the fimbria, corpus callosum, and cerebral cortex. Retroviral injections on P15 labeled very few cells, suggesting depletion of HSVZ progenitors by this age. These findings suggest that the early postnatal HSVZ progenitors are multipotent and migratory, and contribute to both dentate gyrus neurogenesis as well as forebrain gliogenesis. J. Comp. Neurol. 497:833-845, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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