Pellegrini, E., Mouriec, K., Anglade, I., Menuet, A., Le Page, Y., Gueguen, M.M., Marmignon, M.H., Brion, F., Pakdel, F., and Kah, O. (2007) Identification of aromatase-positive radial glial cells as progenitor cells in the ventricular layer of the forebrain in zebrafish. The Journal of comparative neurology. 501(1):150-167.
Compared with other vertebrates, the brain of adult teleost fish exhibits two unique features: it exhibits unusually high neurogenic activity and strongly expresses aromatase, a key enzyme that converts aromatizable androgens into estrogens. Until now, these two features, high neurogenic and aromatase activities, have never been related to each other. Recently, it was shown that aromatase is expressed in radial glial cells of the forebrain and not in neurons. Here, we further document that Aromatase B is never detected in cells expressing the markers of postmitotic neurons, Hu and acetylated tubulin. By using a combination of bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) treatment and immunohistochemical techniques, we demonstrate for the first time to our knowledge that aromatase-positive radial cells actively divide to generate newborn cells in many forebrain regions. Such newborn cells can further divide, as shown by BrdU-proliferating cell nuclear antigen double staining. We also demonstrate that, over time, newborn cells move away from the ventricles, most likely by migrating along the radial processes. Finally, by using antisera to Hu and acetylated tubulin, we further document that some of the newborn cells derived from radial glia differentiate into neurons. These data provide new evidence for the mechanism of neurogenesis in the brain of adult fish. In addition, given that estrogens are well-known neurotrophic and neuroprotective factors affecting proliferation, apoptosis, migration, and differentiation, the expression of aromatase in the neural stem cells of the adult strongly demonstrates that the fish brain is an outstanding model for studying the effects of estrogens on adult neurogenesis and brain repair.