Tanycytes of the hypothalamic median eminence form a diet-responsive neurogenic niche

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Adult hypothalamic neurogenesis has recently been reported, but the cell of origin and the function of these newborn neurons are unknown. Using genetic fate mapping, we found that median eminence tanycytes generate newborn neurons. Blocking this neurogenesis altered the weight and metabolic activity of adult mice. These findings reveal a previously unreported neurogenic niche in the mammalian hypothalamus with important implications for metabolism.

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Figure 1: Hypothalamic proliferative zone.
Figure 2: The median eminence is a neurogenic niche.
Figure 3: Median eminence neurogenesis regulates metabolism.


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We thank J. Nathans, S. Hattar, N. Gaiano, P. Achanta, C. Montojo, D. McClellan, T. Shimogori, T. Moran, E. Newman, M. Taylor and W. Yap for comments on the manuscript. We also thank M. Bonaguidi, C. Montojo, J. Reyes, M. Armour, E. Velarde, N. Forbes-McBean, W.F. Han and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Microscope Facility for technical advice and assistance. This work was supported by US National Institutes of Health grant F31 NS063550 and an NSF Graduate Fellowship (to D.A.L.), a Basil O'Connor Starter Scholar Award and grants from the Klingenstein Fund and NARSAD (to S.B.). S.B. is a W.M. Keck Distinguished Young Scholar in Medical Research.

Author information

D.A.L. and S.B. designed experiments. D.A.L., J.L.B., T.P., V.T., J.S., H.W., A.M.A., E.F., V.C. and S.A. performed experiments. D.A.L., J.L.B., T.P., A.M.A., V.C., S.A. and S.B. analyzed data. F.B., H.T. and G.F. contributed transgenic mice. D.A.L. and S.B. wrote the manuscript.

Correspondence to Seth Blackshaw.

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Lee, D., Bedont, J., Pak, T. et al. Tanycytes of the hypothalamic median eminence form a diet-responsive neurogenic niche. Nat Neurosci 15, 700–702 (2012) doi:10.1038/nn.3079

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