Hypothalamic regulation of regionally distinct adult neural stem cells and neurogenesis

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Science  30 Jun 2017:
Vol. 356, Issue 6345, pp. 1383-1386
DOI: 10.1126/science.aal3839

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Specialization in brain neurogenic niche

The adult mammalian brain generates neurons from the subventricular zone (SVZ). In mice, Paul et al. were able to link environmental signals with the type of neurons that are generated and showed that anatomical subspecialization occurrs in the SVZ. Neural circuits that respond to hunger or satiety enervate a subregion of the SVZ and retune the production of new olfactory neurons just from that portion of the subventricular niche.

Science, this issue p. 1383


Neural stem cells (NSCs) in specialized niches in the adult mammalian brain generate neurons throughout life. NSCs in the adult mouse ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ) exhibit a regional identity and, depending on their location, generate distinct olfactory bulb interneuron subtypes. Here, we show that the hypothalamus, a brain area regulating physiological states, provides long-range regionalized input to the V-SVZ niche and can regulate specific NSC subpopulations. Hypothalamic proopiomelanocortin neurons selectively innervate the anterior ventral V-SVZ and promote the proliferation of Nkx2.1+ NSCs and the generation of deep granule neurons. Accordingly, hunger and satiety regulate adult neurogenesis by modulating the activity of this hypothalamic–V-SVZ connection. Our findings reveal that neural circuitry, via mosaic innervation of the V-SVZ, can recruit distinct NSC pools, allowing on-demand neurogenesis in response to physiology and environmental signals.

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