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Image analysis of neural stem cell division patterns in the zebrafish brain.

Cytometry A 93A, 314-322 (2017)
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Proliferating stem cells in the adult body are the source of constant regeneration. In the brain, neural stem cells (NSCs) divide to maintain the stem cell population and generate neural progenitor cells that eventually replenish mature neurons and glial cells. How much spatial coordination of NSC division and differentiation is present in a functional brain is an open question. To quantify the patterns of stem cell divisions, one has to (i) identify the pool of NSCs that have the ability to divide, (ii) determine NSCs that divide within a given time window, and (iii) analyze the degree of spatial coordination. Here, we present a bioimage informatics pipeline that automatically identifies GFP expressing NSCs in three-dimensional image stacks of zebrafish brain from whole-mount preparations. We exploit the fact that NSCs in the zebrafish hemispheres are located on a two-dimensional surface and identify between 1,500 and 2,500 NSCs in six brain hemispheres. We then determine the position of dividing NSCs in the hemisphere by EdU incorporation into cells undergoing S-phase and calculate all pairwise NSC distances with three alternative metrics. Finally, we fit a probabilistic model to the observed spatial patterns that accounts for the non-homogeneous distribution of NSCs. We find a weak positive coordination between dividing NSCs irrespective of the metric and conclude that neither strong inhibitory nor strong attractive signals drive NSC divisions in the adult zebrafish brain. (c) 2017 International Society for Advancement of Cytometry
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Publication type Article: Journal article
Document type Scientific Article
Keywords Bioimage Informatics ; Neural Stem Cells ; Zebrafish Brain ; Cell Identification ; Neuroscience Image Computing; 3-dimensional Segmentation; Nuclei; Heterogeneity; Neurogenesis; Microscopy; Lineage
Reviewing status