In the adult hippocampus, neurogenesis proceeds in the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus (DG), but not in the cornu Ammonis (CA). Recently, we demonstrated in monkeys that transient brain ischemia induces an increase of the neuronal progenitor cells in the SGZ, but not in CA1, in the second week after the insult. To identify the origin of primary neuronal progenitors in vivo, we compared the postischemic monkey DG and CA1, using light and electron microscopy, focusing on specific phenotype markers, as well as the expression of neurotrophic factors. Laser confocal microscopy showed that 1-3% of 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive cells in the SGZ after 2-96 h labeling were also positive for neuronal markers such as TUC4, βIII tubulin, and NeuN on days 9 and 15. In contrast, despite the presence of numerous BrdU-positive cells, CA1 showed no neurogenesis at any time points, and all the progenitors were positive for glial markers: Iba1 or S-100β on days 4, 9, and 15. Highly polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule (PSA-NCAM)-positive cells were abundant in the SGZ, but were absent in CA1. On day 9, most of the immature neurons positive for βIII-tubulin in SGZ showed an increase in PSA-NCAM immunoreactivity. The immunoreactivity of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) was abundant at the vascular adventitia of the SGZ, but was absent at the adventitia of CA1. BrdU-positive progenitor cells were frequently seen in the vicinity of proliferating blood vessels. Ultrastructural analysis indicated that most of the neuronal progenitor cells and microglia originated from the pericytes of capillaries and/or adventitial cells of arterioles (called vascular adventitia). The detaching adventitial cells showed mitotic figures in the perivascular space, and the resultant neuronal progenitor cells made contact with dendritic spines associated with synaptic vesicles or boutons. These data implicate the vascular adventitia as a novel potential source of neuronal progenitor cells in the postischemic primate SGZ.
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