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J Neurosci. 1997 Jul 1;17(13):5046-61.

Cellular composition and three-dimensional organization of the subventricular germinal zone in the adult mammalian brain.

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The Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The adult mammalian subventricular zone (SVZ) contains stem cells that give rise to neurons and glia. In vivo, SVZ progeny migrate 3-8 mm to the olfactory bulb, where they form neurons. We show here that the SVZ of the lateral wall of the lateral ventricles in adult mice is composed of neuroblasts, glial cells, and a novel putative precursor cell. The topographical organization of these cells suggests how neurogenesis and migration are integrated in this region. Type A cells had the ultrastructure of migrating neuronal precursors. These cells were arranged as chains parallel to the walls of the ventricle and were polysialylated neural adhesion cell molecule- (PSA-NCAM), TuJ1- (beta-tubulin), and nestin-positive but GFAP- and vimentin-negative. Chains of Type A cells were ensheathed by two ultrastructurally distinct astrocytes (Type B1 and B2) that were GFAP-, vimentin-, and nestin-positive but PSA-NCAM- and TuJ1-negative. Type A and B2 (but not B1) cells incorporated [3H]thymidine. The most actively dividing cell in the SVZ corresponded to Type C cells, which had immature ultrastructural characteristics and were nestin-positive but negative to the other markers. Type C cells formed focal clusters closely associated with chains of Type A cells. Whereas Type C cells were present throughout the SVZ, they were not found in the rostral migratory stream that links the SVZ with the olfactory bulb. These results suggest that chains of migrating neuroblasts in the SVZ may be derived from Type C cells. Our results provide a topographical model for the adult SVZ and should serve as a basis for the in vivo identification of stem cells in the adult mammalian brain.

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