Research Article

Live imaging of neurogenesis in the adult mouse hippocampus

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Science  09 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6376, pp. 658-662
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao5056

A window on hippocampal neurogenesis

Addition of new neurons to the adult brain is key to the hippocampal functions of learning and memory. Pilz et al. labeled individual progenitor cells in the mouse hippocampus and watched them in situ for the next 2 months (see the Perspective by Götz). The results revealed the developmental progression as progenitor cells gave rise to mature cells of the dentate gyrus.

Science, this issue p. 658; see also p. 639


Neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) generate neurons throughout life in the mammalian hippocampus. We used chronic in vivo imaging and followed genetically labeled individual NSPCs and their progeny in the mouse hippocampus for up to 2 months. We show that NSPCs targeted by the endogenous Achaete-scute homolog 1 (Ascl1) promoter undergo limited rounds of symmetric and asymmetric divisions, eliciting a burst of neurogenic activity, after which they are lost. Further, our data reveal unexpected asymmetric divisions of nonradial glia-like NSPCs. Cell fates of Ascl1-labeled lineages suggest a developmental-like program involving a sequential transition from a proliferative to a neurogenic phase. By providing a comprehensive description of lineage relationships, from dividing NSPCs to newborn neurons integrating into the hippocampal circuitry, our data offer insight into how NSPCs support life-long hippocampal neurogenesis.

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