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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Dec 14;101(50):17528-32. Epub 2004 Dec 1.

Radial glia give rise to adult neural stem cells in the subventricular zone.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Surgery, Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program, Box 0525, University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Neural stem cells with the characteristics of astrocytes persist in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the juvenile and adult brain. These cells generate large numbers of new neurons that migrate through the rostral migratory stream to the olfactory bulb. The developmental origin of adult neural stem cells is not known. Here, we describe a lox-Cre-based technique to specifically and permanently label a restricted population of striatal radial glia in newborn mice. Within the first few days after labeling, these radial glial cells gave rise to neurons, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes, including astrocytes in the SVZ. Remarkably, the rostral migratory stream contained labeled migratory neuroblasts at all ages examined, including 150-day-old mice. Labeling dividing cells with the S-phase marker BrdUrd showed that new neurons continue to be produced in the adult by precursors ultimately derived from radial glia. Furthermore, both radial glia in neonates and radial glia-derived cells in the adult lateral ventricular wall generated self-renewing, multipotent neurospheres. These results demonstrate that radial glial cells not only serve as progenitors for many neurons and glial cells soon after birth but also give rise to adult SVZ stem cells that continue to produce neurons throughout adult life. This study identifies and provides a method to genetically modify the lineage that links neonatal and adult neural stem cells.

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