Author(s): Hendrickson ML, Rao AJ, Demerdash ON, Kalil RE. Expression of nestin by neural cells in the adult rat and human brain. PLoS One. 2011 Apr 7;6(4):e18535. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018535. PMID 21490921
Journal: Plo S One, Volume 6, Issue 4, Apr 2011
Neurons and glial cells in the developing brain arise from neural progenitor cells (NPCs). Nestin, an intermediate filament protein, is thought to be expressed exclusively by NPCs in the normal brain, and is replaced by the expression of proteins specific for neurons or glia in differentiated cells. Nestin expressing NPCs are found in the adult brain in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricle and the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus. While significant attention has been paid to studying NPCs in the SVZ and SGZ in the adult brain, relatively little attention has been paid to determining whether nestin-expressing neural cells (NECs) exist outside of the SVZ and SGZ. We therefore stained sections immunocytochemically from the adult rat and human brain for NECs, observed four distinct classes of these cells, and present here the first comprehensive report on these cells. Class I cells are among the smallest neural cells in the brain and are widely distributed. Class II cells are located in the walls of the aqueduct and third ventricle. Class IV cells are found throughout the forebrain and typically reside immediately adjacent to a neuron. Class III cells are observed only in the basal forebrain and closely related areas such as the hippocampus and corpus striatum. Class III cells resemble neurons structurally and co-express markers associated exclusively with neurons. Cell proliferation experiments demonstrate that Class III cells are not recently born. Instead, these cells appear to be mature neurons in the adult brain that express nestin. Neurons that express nestin are not supposed to exist in the brain at any stage of development. That these unique neurons are found only in brain regions involved in higher order cognitive function suggests that they may be remodeling their cytoskeleton in supporting the neural plasticity required for these functions.