Heterogeneity of Radial Glia-Like Cells in the Adult Hippocampus

Elias Gebara, Michael Anthony Bonaguidi, Ruth Beckervordersandforth, Sébastien Sultan, Florian Udry, Pieter Jan Gijs, Dieter Chichung Lie, Guo Li Ming, Hongjun Song, Nicolas Toni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Adult neurogenesis is tightly regulated by the neurogenic niche. Cellular contacts between niche cells and neural stem cells are hypothesized to regulate stem cell proliferation or lineage choice. However, the structure of adult neural stem cells and the contact they form with niche cells are poorly described. Here, we characterized the morphology of radial glia-like (RGL) cells, their molecular identity, proliferative activity, and fate determination in the adult mouse hippocampus. We found the coexistence of two morphotypes of cells with prototypical morphological characteristics of RGL stem cells: Type α cells, which represented 76% of all RGL cells, displayed a long primary process modestly branching into the molecular layer and type β cells, which represented 24% of all RGL cells, with a shorter radial process highly branching into the outer granule cell layer-inner molecular layer border. Stem cell markers were expressed in type α cells and coexpressed with astrocytic markers in type β cells. Consistently, in vivo lineage tracing indicated that type α cells can give rise to neurons, astrocytes, and type β cells, whereas type β cells do not proliferate. Our results reveal that the adult subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus harbors two functionally different RGL cells, which can be distinguished by simple morphological criteria, supporting a morphofunctional role of their thin cellular processes. Type β cells may represent an intermediate state in the transformation of type α, RGL stem cells, into astrocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1010
Number of pages14
JournalStem Cells
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Adult stem cells
  • Nervous system
  • Neural stem cell
  • Somatic stem cells
  • Stem cell-microenvironment interactions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Heterogeneity of Radial Glia-Like Cells in the Adult Hippocampus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this