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Doublecortin expression levels in adult brain reflect neurogenesis

Authors

  • Sebastien Couillard-Despres,

    1. Volkswagen-Foundation Junior Group, University of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
    2. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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    • *

      S. C.-D. and B. W. contributed equally to the work.

  • Beate Winner,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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    • *

      S. C.-D. and B. W. contributed equally to the work.

  • Susanne Schaubeck,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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  • Robert Aigner,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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  • Maurice Vroemen,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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  • Norbert Weidner,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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  • Ulrich Bogdahn,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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  • Jürgen Winkler,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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  • Hans-Georg Kuhn,

    1. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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  • Ludwig Aigner

    1. Volkswagen-Foundation Junior Group, University of Regensburg, Franz-Josef-Strauss Allee 11, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
    2. Department of Neurology, University of Regensburg, Universitätsstr. 84, 93053 Regensburg, Germany
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Dr L. Aigner, as above.
E-mail: ludwig.aigner@klinik.uni-regensburg.de

Abstract

Progress in the field of neurogenesis is currently limited by the lack of tools enabling fast and quantitative analysis of neurogenesis in the adult brain. Doublecortin (DCX) has recently been used as a marker for neurogenesis. However, it was not clear whether DCX could be used to assess modulations occurring in the rate of neurogenesis in the adult mammalian central nervous system following lesioning or stimulatory factors. Using two paradigms increasing neurogenesis levels (physical activity and epileptic seizures), we demonstrate that quantification of DCX-expressing cells allows for an accurate measurement of modulations in the rate of adult neurogenesis. Importantly, we excluded induction of DCX expression during physiological or reactive gliogenesis and excluded also DCX re-expression during regenerative axonal growth. Our data validate DCX as a reliable and specific marker that reflects levels of adult neurogenesis and its modulation. We demonstrate that DCX is a valuable alternative to techniques currently used to measure the levels of neurogenesis. Importantly, in contrast to conventional techniques, analysis of neurogenesis through the detection of DCX does not require in vivo labelling of proliferating cells, thereby opening new avenues for the study of human neurogenesis under normal and pathological conditions.

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