PloS one

Differential Structural Development of Adult-Born Septal Hippocampal Granule Cells in the Thy1-GFP Mouse, Nuclear Size as a New Index of Maturation.

PMID 26267362


Adult neurogenesis is frequently studied in the mouse hippocampus. We examined the morphological development of adult-born, immature granule cells in the suprapyramidal blade of the septal dentate gyrus over the period of 7-77 days after mitosis with BrdU-labeling in 6-weeks-old male Thy1-GFP mice. As Thy1-GFP expression was restricted to maturated granule cells, it was combined with doublecortin-immunolabeling of immature granule cells. We developed a novel classification system that is easily applicable and enables objective and direct categorization of newborn granule cells based on the degree of dendritic development in relation to the layer specificity of the dentate gyrus. The structural development of adult-generated granule cells was correlated with age, albeit with notable differences in the time course of development between individual cells. In addition, the size of the nucleus, immunolabeled with the granule cell specific marker Prospero-related homeobox 1 gene, was a stable indicator of the degree of a cell's structural maturation and could be used as a straightforward parameter of granule cell development. Therefore, further studies could employ our doublecortin-staging system and nuclear size measurement to perform investigations of morphological development in combination with functional studies of adult-born granule cells. Furthermore, the Thy1-GFP transgenic mouse model can be used as an additional investigation tool because the reporter gene labels granule cells that are 4 weeks or older, while very young cells could be visualized through the immature marker doublecortin. This will enable comparison studies regarding the structure and function between young immature and older matured granule cells.