Adult Neurogenesis: Ultrastructure of a Neurogenic Niche and Neurovascular Relationships
by Paula Grazielle Chaves da Silva, Jeanne L. Benton, Barbara S. Beltz, Silvana Allodi
The first-generation precursors producing adult-born neurons in the crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) brain reside in a specialized niche located on the ventral surface of the brain. In the present work, we have explored the organization and ultrastructure of this neurogenic niche, using light-level, confocal and electron microscopic approaches. Our goals were to define characteristics of the niche microenvironment, examine the morphological relationships between the niche and the vasculature and observe specializations at the boundary between the vascular cavity located centrally in the niche. Our results show that the niche is almost fully encapsulated by blood vessels, and that cells in the vasculature come into contact with the niche. This analysis also characterizes the ultrastructure of the cell types in the niche. The Type I niche cells are by far the most numerous, and are the only cell type present superficially in the most ventral cell layers of the niche. More dorsally, Type I cells are intermingled with Types II, III and IV cells, which are observed far less frequently. Type I cells have microvilli on their apical cell surfaces facing the vascular cavity, as well as junctional complexes between adjacent cells, suggesting a role in regulating transport from the blood into the niche cells. These studies demonstrate a close relationship between the neurogenic niche and vascular system in P. clarkii. Furthermore, the specializations of niche cells contacting the vascular cavity are also typical of the interface between the blood/cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-brain barriers of vertebrates, including cells of the subventricular zone (SVZ) producing new olfactory interneurons in mammals. These data indicate that tissues involved in producing adult-born neurons in the crayfish brain use strategies that may reflect fundamental mechanisms preserved in an evolutionarily broad range of species, as proposed previously. The studies described here extend our understanding of neurovascular relationships in the brain of P. clarkii by characterizing the organization and ultrastructure of the neurogenic niche and associated vascular tissues.
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