Neurogenic potential and microglial-neuronal fusion in postnatal cerebral cortex: Implications for cortical development and regeneration

Date of Completion

January 2006


Biology, Neuroscience




The cerebral cortex is the most highly evolved region of the mammalian brain and is the site of various neurodegenerative disorders. It is important to fully understand the neurogenic potential of the postnatal cerebral cortex as the answer may transform our current understanding of cortical development and provide future strategies for brain repair. The work presented in this thesis describes three studies that further our understanding of the potential to generate new neurons in the postnatal cerebral cortex. The first set of experiments describes the physiological differentiation of new subventricular zone neurons and demonstrates that these postnatally generated neurons can integrate into already established circuits. Next we show that citron-kinase function is required for postnatal neurogenesis, indicating that citron-kinase plays a role in the regulation of postnatal neurogenic progenitors. Finally, our study of neurogenic potential in the postnatal neocortex describes a novel form of cell fusion between neuronal dendrites and microglia, and underscores the need for additional caution when interpreting evidence for pyramidal neuronogenesis in postnatal neocortex. This work furthers our understanding of the function, regulation, and potential for neurogenesis in the postnatal cerebral cortex and provides insight that may improve therapeutic approaches for the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders.^