UMMS Affiliation

Department of Neurobiology; Lois Lab

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Animals, Newborn; Cell Movement; Finches; Male; Neurons; Prosencephalon


Neuroscience and Neurobiology


Most non-mammalian vertebrate species add new neurons to existing brain circuits throughout life, a process thought to be essential for tissue maintenance, repair, and learning. How these new neurons migrate through the mature brain and which cues trigger their integration within a functioning circuit is not known. To address these questions, we used two-photon microscopy to image the addition of genetically labeled newly generated neurons into the brain of juvenile zebra finches. Time-lapse in vivo imaging revealed that the majority of migratory new neurons exhibited a multipolar morphology and moved in a nonlinear manner for hundreds of micrometers. Young neurons did not use radial glia or blood vessels as a migratory scaffold; instead, cells extended several motile processes in different directions and moved by somal translocation along an existing process. Neurons were observed migrating for approximately 2 weeks after labeling injection. New neurons were observed to integrate in close proximity to the soma of mature neurons, a behavior that may explain the emergence of clusters of neuronal cell bodies in the adult songbird brain. These results provide direct, in vivo evidence for a wandering form of neuronal migration involved in the addition of new neurons in the postnatal brain.

Rights and Permissions

Copyright © 2012 the authors. Copyright of all material published in The Journal of Neuroscience remains with the authors. The authors grant the Society for Neuroscience an exclusive license to publish their work for the first 6 months. After 6 months the work becomes available to the public to copy, distribute, or display under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

DOI of Published Version



J Neurosci. 2012 Jan 25;32(4):1436-46. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID