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Glia. 2013 Feb;61(2):192-209. doi: 10.1002/glia.22426. Epub 2012 Oct 1.

Determinants of central nervous system adult neurogenesis are sex, hormones, mouse strain, age, and brain region.

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Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan 48201, USA.


Multiple sclerosis is a sexually dimorphic (SD) disease that causes oligodendrocyte death, but SD of glial cells is poorly studied. Here, we analyze SD of neural progenitors in 6-8 weeks and 6-8 months normal C57BL/6, SJL/J, and BALB/c mice in the subventricular zone (SVZ), dorsolateral horn (DLC), corpus callosum (CC), and parenchyma. With a short 2-h bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) pulse, no gender and strain differences are present at 6-8 weeks. At 6-8 months, the number of BrdU(+) cells decreases twofold in each sex, strain, and region, indicating that a common aging mechanism regulates BrdU incorporation. Strikingly, 2× more BrdU(+) cells are found in all brain regions in 6-8 months C57BL/6 females versus males, no gender differences in 6-8 months SJL/J, and fewer BrdU(+) cells in females versus males in BALB/cs. The number of BrdU(+) cells modestly fluctuates throughout the estrous cycle in C57BL/6 and SJLs. Castration causes a dramatic increase in BrdU(+) cells in SVZ and DLC. These findings indicate that testosterone is a major regulator of adult neural proliferation. At 6-8 months, the ratio of PDGFRα(+) cells in the CC to BrdU(+) cells in the DLC of both strains, sexes, estrous cycle, and castrated mice was essentially the same, suggesting that BrdU(+) cells in the DLC differentiate into CC oligodendrocytes. The ratio of TUNEL(+) to BrdU(+) cells does not match proliferation, indicating that these events are differentially regulated. Differential regulation of these two processes leads to the variation in glial numbers between gender and strain. Explanations of neural proliferation based upon data from one sex or strain may be very misleading.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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