Astrocyte fatty acid binding protein-7 is a marker for neurogenic niches in the rat hippocampus



Recent research has determined that newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus of the macaque are frequently adjacent to astrocytes immunoreactive for fatty acid binding protein-7 (FABP7). To investigate if a similar relationship between FABP7-positive (FABP7+) astrocytes and proliferating cells exists in the rodent brain, sections of brains from juvenile rats were stained by immunohistochemistry to demonstrate newborn cells (antibody to Ki67 protein) and FABP7+ astrocytes. In rat brains, FABP7+ astrocytes were particularly abundant in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and were frequently close to dividing cells immunoreactive for Ki67 protein. FABP7+ astrocytes were also present in the olfactory bulbs, arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus, and in the dorsal medulla subjacent to the area postrema, sites where more modest numbers of newborn neurons can also be found. These data suggest that regional accumulations of FABP7+ astrocytes may represent reservoirs of cells having the potential for neurogenesis. Because FABP7+ astrocytes are particularly abundant in the hippocampus, and since the gene for FABP7 has been linked to Alzheimer's disease, age-related changes in FABP7+ astrocytes (mitochondrial degeneration) may be relevant to age-associated disorders of the hippocampus. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.