Long-term self-renewing stem cells in the adult mouse hippocampus identified by intravital imaging

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Neural stem cells (NSCs) generate neurons throughout life in the mammalian hippocampus. However, the potential for long-term self-renewal of individual NSCs within the adult brain remains unclear. We used two-photon microscopy and followed NSCs that were genetically labeled through conditional recombination driven by the regulatory elements of the stem cell-expressed genes GLI family zinc finger 1 (Gli1) or achaete-scute homolog 1 (Ascl1). Through intravital imaging of NSCs and their progeny, we identify a population of Gli1-targeted NSCs showing long-term self-renewal in the adult hippocampus. In contrast, once activated, Ascl1-targeted NSCs undergo limited proliferative activity before they become exhausted. Using single-cell RNA sequencing, we show that Gli1- and Ascl1-targeted cells have highly similar yet distinct transcriptional profiles, supporting the existence of heterogeneous NSC populations with diverse behavioral properties. Thus, we here identify long-term self-renewing NSCs that contribute to the generation of new neurons in the adult hippocampus.

Journal details

Volume 24
Issue number 2
Pages 225-233
Available online
Publication date