Examining Factors that Regulate Neurogenesis in the Adult Mayan Cichlid Brain

Grant Winners

  • James Munoz, Ph.D. – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
  • Ahmed Ali – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences
  • Jonathan P. Romanes – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Dean

  • Don Rosenblum, Ph.D. – Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

Award Winners

The birth of new neurons (neurogenesis) has been observed in all adult mammalian brains examined to date. Adult neural stem cells are located close to blood vessels in each of the two neurogenic regions observed in all mammals. These specialized niches appear to regulate their proliferation. In recent studies, postnatal neurogenesis has been reported in several regions of the fish brain including the olfactory bulb, dorsal zones of the telencephalon, hypothalamus, and divisions of the cerebellum. While fish brain is reported to contain more neurogenic regions than the mammalian brain, little else is known about neurogenesis in the adult fish brain. Our preliminary observations suggest that neural stem cells in the adult Mayan Cichlid brain proliferate in vascular niches. An understanding of the proximity of neural stem cells to blood vessels and their ability to respond to factors circulating in response to environmental changes would advance our understanding of how neurogenesis is regulated. We further propose neural stem cells are born in vascular niches and migrate along blood vessels as they migrate away from proliferative zones. Using thymidine analog incorporation assays, cell death assays, and immunofluorescence, our preliminary observations suggest that neural stem cells in the adult Mayan Cichlid brain proliferate in vascular niches and migrate along blood vessels prior to maturing. We are currently quantifying the cell cycle kinetics, number of cells integrating and undergoing cell death, and migration patterns of these cells. The findings obtained in this study will advance our understanding of how neurogenesis contributes to ongoing brain functions and will also contribute to future studies examining factors that may alter neurogenesis.