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Jafari, Mehrnoosh (2014): Disease-associated modulation of adult hippocampal neurogenesis. Dissertation, LMU München: Graduate School of Systemic Neurosciences (GSN)



Adult neurogenesis has been the focus of over 1500 articles in the past 10 years. Evidence for the continuous production of new neurons in the adult brain has raised hopes for new therapeutic approaches. On the other hand, the generation of new neurons is modulated in several neurological diseases and disorders, suggesting the involvement of the adult neurogenesis in their pathogenesis. Therefore, a better understanding of the disease-associated modulation of adult neurogenesis is essential for determining the most effective therapeutic strategy. The purpose of this doctoral project was to investigate long-term adult hippocampal neurogenesis changes in two disease models. BrdU labeling in combination with various cellular markers, and genetic fate-mapping approach were used to reach this goal. In the first experiment, the impact of the BeAN strain of the Theiler’s virus on hippocampal cell proliferation and neuronal progenitors was evaluated in two mouse strains which differ in the disease course. It was shown that Theiler’s murine encephalomyelitis virus can exert delayed effects on the hippocampal neurogenesis with long-term changes evident 90 days following the infection. The hippocampal changes proved to depend on strain susceptibility and might have been affected by microglial cells. In the second experiment, hippocampal neurogenesis was analyzed based on genetic fate mapping of transgenic animals in the amygdala-kindling model of epilepsy. The number of new granule neurons added to the dentate gyrus was increased in kindled animals. A prior seizure history proved to be sufficient to induce a long-term net effect on neuron addition and an ongoing occurrence of seizures did not further increase the number of new neurons. Hypertrophic astrocytes were observed in the kindled animals suggesting that seizures result in structural changes of astrocytes that could be detected long after the termination of the insults. The results of the experiments indicated the importance of methodological considerations in chronic studies of neurogenesis.