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GFAP-expressing radial glia-like cell bodies are involved in a one-to-one relationship with doublecortin-immunolabeled newborn neurons in the adult dentate gyrus.


The present study examined the relationship between radial glial cells and newborn neurons in the adult dentate gyrus using three different methods. Single labeling immunocytochemistry for newly born neurons using doublecortin, as well as double labeling using an additional antibody to glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) to label astrocytes were used at the light microscopic level. Furthermore, doublecortin immunoelectron microscopy was used to examine the ultrastructural relationship between newborn neurons and astrocytes in the adult dentate gyrus. These data showed an intimate one-to-one relationship between GFAP-expressing radial glia-like cell bodies and their non-radial processes that wrap around the basal and lateral sides of newborn neurons to cradle them in the subgranular zone. A similar relationship is observed for the newborn neurons at the base of the granule cell layer, but the cell body of the GFAP-expressing radial glia-like cells is not as intimately associated with the cell body of the newborn neurons at this site. Furthermore, newborn neurons with apical dendritic processes and growth cones in the granule cell layer extend them along radial glial processes. These newborn neurons do not receive axosomatic or axodendritic synapses indicating the absence of basket cell innervation. These data show that GFAP-expressing radial glia-like cells in the dentate gyrus cradle newborn neurons in the subgranular zone and that their radial processes provide a scaffold for neuronal process outgrowth.

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