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Brain Res Dev Brain Res. 2002 Mar 31;134(1-2):1-12.

Genetic influence on phenotypic differentiation in adult hippocampal neurogenesis.

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The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Laboratory of Genetics, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis has different regulatory levels, including cell proliferation, survival and differentiation. Cell proliferation and survival are differentially influenced by inheritable traits and the genetic background determines which regulatory levels of adult hippocampal neurogenesis are preferentially involved in a neurogenic response to environmental stimuli. We here compared baseline adult neurogenesis in wild-derived strain Mus spretus and three inbred laboratory strains: A/J, C3H/HeJ and DBA/2J. Proliferation of was similar in the four strains, with the extremes being A/J, which had about 2100+/-570 (mean+/-S.D.) labeled newborn cells per dentate gyrus (after 6 days of bromodeoxyuridine injections), and DBA/2J, which had approximately 1400+/-260. C3H/HeJ had approximately 1500+/-600 and M. spretus had 1550+/-270. Survival of new cells after 4 weeks was 19% in A/J and DBA/2J, and 21% in M. spretus, but 37% in C3H/HeJ. Survival in C3H/HeJ was significantly different from DBA/2. Phenotypic analysis revealed that DBA/2J produced significantly fewer new neurons than A/J and C3H/HeJ (47% vs. 63% and 67%) but significantly more new astrocytes than A/J and C3H/HeJ (28% vs. 9% and 11%). In absolute terms there were 370+/-120 new neurons in C3H/HeJ, 250+/-60 in A/J, 130+/-50 in DBA/2J, and 190+/-130 in M. spretus. Our results indicate that regulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis affects the level of phenotypic differentiation. At the present time it cannot be determined whether this regulation occurs by influencing cell fate decisions or by promoting selective survival.

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