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Hippocampus. 2011 May;21(5):467-80. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20762.

Topographic differences in adult neurogenesis in the mouse hippocampus: a stereology-based study using endogenous markers.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University, Fukuoka, Japan.


The hippocampus plays a critical role in various cognitive and affective functions. Increasing evidence shows that these functions are topographically distributed along the dorsoventral (septotemporal) and transverse axes of the hippocampus. For instance, dorsal hippocampus is involved in spatial memory and learning whereas ventral hippocampus is related to emotion. Here, we examined the topographic differences (dorsal vs. ventral; suprapyramidal vs. infrapyramidal) in adult neurogenesis in the mouse hippocampus using endogenous markers. The optical disector was applied to estimate the numerical densities (NDs) of labeled cells in the granule cell layer. The NDs of radial glia-like progenitors labeled by brain lipid binding protein were significantly lower in the infrapyramidal blade of the ventral DG than in other subdivisions. The NDs of doublecortin-expressing cells presumed neural progenitors and immature granule cells were significantly higher in the suprapyramidal blade of the dorsal DG than in the other subdivisions. The NDs of calretinin-expressing cells presumed young granule cells at the postmitotic stage were significantly higher in the suprapyramidal blade than in the infrapyramidal blade in the dorsal DG. No significant regional differences were detected in the NDs of dividing cells identified by proliferating cell nuclear antigen. Taken together, these findings suggest that a larger pool of immature granule cells in dorsal hippocampus might be responsible for spatial learning and memory, whereas a smaller pool of radial glia-like progenitors in ventral hippocampus might be associated with the susceptibility to affective disorders. Cell number estimation using a 300-μm-thick hypothetical slice indicates that regional differences in immature cells might contribute to the formation of topographic gradients in mature granule cells in the adult hippocampus. Our data also emphasizes the importance of considering such differences when evaluating changes in adult neurogenesis in pathological conditions and following experimental procedures.

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