Ortega F, Costa MR, Simon-Ebert T, Schroeder T, Götz M, Berninger B (2011) Using an adherent cell culture of the mouse subependymal zone to study the behavior of adult neural stem cells on a single-cell level. Nat Protoc 6: 1847-59

A comprehensive understanding of the cell biology of adult neural stem cells (aNSCs) requires direct observation of aNSC division and lineage progression in the absence of niche-dependent signals. Here we describe a culture preparation of the adult mouse subependymal zone (SEZ), which allows for continuous single-cell tracking of aNSC behavior. The protocol involves the isolation (approximately 3 h) and culture of cells from the adult SEZ at low density in the absence of mitogenic growth factors in chemically defined medium and subsequent live imaging using time-lapse video microscopy (5-7 d); these steps are followed by postimaging immunocytochemistry to identify progeny (approximately 7 h). This protocol enables the observation of the progression from slow-dividing aNSCs of radial/astroglial identity up to the neuroblast stage, involving asymmetric and symmetric cell divisions of distinct fast-dividing precursors. This culture provides an experimental system for studying instructive or permissive effects of signal molecules on aNSC modes of cell division and lineage progression.

Pubmed: 22051798