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Brain Res. 2007 May 29;1149:30-7. Epub 2006 Aug 14.

Spatiotemporal profile of dendritic outgrowth from newly born granule cells in the adult rat dentate gyrus.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-1275, USA.


Neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus occurs in the subgranular zone where newborn neurons (NNs) migrate a short distance into the granule cell layer and extend their rudimentary apical dendritic processes upon a radial glial scaffold. Using doublecortin (DCX) immunocytochemistry, these growing dendrites can be visualized because dendritic growth cones, including filipodia and lamellipodia, are labeled in both light and electron microscopic preparations. To study the rate of dendritic outgrowth of newborn dentate granule cells, single injections of 5-bromo-2-deoxyuridine (BrdU) with different survival times were combined with double immunolabeling for BrdU and DCX. At the earliest time points (4 and 12 h after BrdU injections), a rudimentary process can be observed to emanate from BrdU/DCX double-labeled cells. By 48 h the dendrites first appeared in the molecular layer. By 96 h after BrdU injection, these apical dendrites extended into the middle of the molecular layer where they ramified. The calculated rate of dendritic growth for NNs was about 15 microm per day for the first 3 days, and then a doubling in length occurred at 4 and 5 days that coincided with a retraction of the basal dendrite. In addition, electron microscopy of DCX-labeled apical dendrites showed that they were much thinner (1/4 to 1/3 the size) in diameter than unlabeled, mature apical dendrites and that they had developing synapses on them in the molecular layer.

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