Maturation time of new granule cells in the dentate gyrus of adult macaque monkeys exceeds six months

Shawn J. Kohler, Nancy I. Williams, Gregory B. Stanton, Judy L. Cameron, William T. Greenough

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136 Scopus citations


We studied two groups of adult macaque monkeys to determine the time course of adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. In the first group, six adult monkeys (Macaca mulatta) received a single injection of the thymidine analog BrdU (75 mg/kg), which is incorporated into replicating DNA and serves as a marker for new cell birth. Brain tissue was collected 48 h, 2 wk, and 6 wk after BrdU injection to examine the initial stages of neurogenesis. Because mature neurons were not evident at 6 wk, we examined tissue collected over a longer time course in a second study. In this study, eight monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) who were subjects in a separate exercise study received 10 weekly injections of BrdU (75 mg/kg), and brain tissue was collected at 16 and 28 wk from the first injection. Based on the timing of expression of neuronal cell markers (βIII-tubulin, doublecortin, NeuN), the extent of dendritic arborization, and acquisition of mature cell body morphology, we show that granule cell maturation in the dentate gyrus of a nonhuman primate is protracted over a minimum of a 6-mo time period, more than 6 times longer than in rodents. The lengthened time course for new cell maturation in nonhuman primates may be appropriate for preservation of neural plasticity over their longer life span and is relevant to our understanding of antidepressant and other therapies that have been linked to neurogenesis in humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10326-10331
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number25
StatePublished - Jun 21 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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