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Stem Cells. 2008 Sep;26(9):2382-90. doi: 10.1634/stemcells.2007-1062. Epub 2008 Jul 3.

Noninvasive and quantitative monitoring of adult neuronal stem cell migration in mouse brain using bioluminescence imaging.

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Neurobiology and Gene Therapy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Flanders, Belgium.


It is now generally accepted that continuous neurogenesis occurs in the adult mammalian brain, including that of humans. Modulation of adult neurogenesis can provide therapeutic benefits for various brain disorders, including stroke and Parkinson's disease. The subventricular zone-olfactory bulb pathway is one of the preferred model systems by which to study neural stem cell proliferation, migration, and differentiation in adult rodent brain. Research on adult neurogenesis would greatly benefit from reliable methods for long-term noninvasive in vivo monitoring. We have used lentiviral vectors encoding firefly luciferase to stably mark endogenous neural stem cells in the mouse subventricular zone. We show that bioluminescence imaging (BLI) allows quantitative follow-up of the migration of adult neural stem cells into the olfactory bulb in time. Moreover, we propose a model to fit the kinetic data that allows estimation of migration and survival times of the neural stem cells using in vivo BLI. Long-term expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the subventricular zone attenuated neurogenesis, as detected by histology and BLI. In vivo monitoring of the impact of drugs or genes on adult neurogenesis is now within reach.

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