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Severe traumatic injury to the adult mammalian CNS leads to life-long loss of function. By contrast, several non-mammalian vertebrate species, including adult zebrafish, have a remarkable ability to regenerate injured organs, including the CNS. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms that enable or prevent CNS regeneration are largely unknown. To study brain regeneration mechanisms in adult zebrafish, we developed a traumatic lesion assay, analyzed cellular reactions to injury and show that adult zebrafish can efficiently regenerate brain lesions and lack permanent glial scarring. Using Cre-loxP-based genetic lineage-tracing, we demonstrate that her4.1-positive ventricular radial glia progenitor cells react to injury, proliferate and generate neuroblasts that migrate to the lesion site. The newly generated neurons survive for more than 3 months, are decorated with synaptic contacts and express mature neuronal markers. Thus, regeneration after traumatic lesion of the adult zebrafish brain occurs efficiently from radial glia-type stem/progenitor cells.

  • Accepted September 6, 2011.
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