• adult neurogenesis;
  • brain;
  • cerebral cortex;
  • FGF;
  • stem cells


In rodents, the subventricular zone (SVZ) harbours neural stem cells that proliferate and produce neurons throughout life. Previous studies showed that factors released by the developing cortex promote neurogenesis in the embryonic ventricular zone. In the present report, we studied in the rat the possible involvement of endogenous factors derived from the embryonic cortex in the regulation of the development of postnatal SVZ cells. To this end, SVZ neurospheres were maintained with explants or conditioned media (CM) prepared from embryonic day (E) 13, E16 or early postnatal cortex. We demonstrate that early postnatal cortex-derived factors have no significant effect on SVZ cell proliferation or differentiation. In contrast, E13 and E16 cortex release diffusible, heat-labile factors that promote SVZ cell expansion through increased proliferation and reduced cell death. In addition, E16 cortex-derived factors stimulate neuronal differentiation in both early postnatal and adult SVZ cultures. Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-2- but not epidermal growth factor (EGF)-immunodepletion drastically reduces the mitogenic effect of E16 cortex CM, hence suggesting a major role of endogenous FGF-2 released by E16 cortex in the stimulation of SVZ cell proliferation. The evidence we provide here for the regulation of SVZ cell proliferation and neuronal differentiation by endogenous factors released from embryonic cortex may be of major importance for brain repair research.