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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 867525, 7 pages
Research Article

Suspension of Mitotic Activity in Dentate Gyrus of the Hibernating Ground Squirrel

1Institute of Cell Biophysics, Russian Academy of Sciences, Pushchino, 142290, Russia
2Department of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK

Received 1 November 2010; Revised 5 January 2011; Accepted 10 March 2011

Academic Editor: Anthony Hannan

Copyright © 2011 Victor I. Popov et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Neurogenesis occurs in the adult mammalian hippocampus, a region of the brain important for learning and memory. Hibernation in Siberian ground squirrels provides a natural model to study mitosis as the rapid fall in body temperature in 24 h (from 35-36°C to +4–6°C) permits accumulation of mitotic cells at different stages of the cell cycle. Histological methods used to study adult neurogenesis are limited largely to fixed tissue, and the mitotic state elucidated depends on the specific phase of mitosis at the time of day. However, using an immunohistochemical study of doublecortin (DCX) and BrdU-labelled neurons, we demonstrate that the dentate gyrus of the ground squirrel hippocampus contains a population of immature cells which appear to possess mitotic activity. Our data suggest that doublecortin-labelled immature cells exist in a mitotic state and may represent a renewable pool for generation of new neurons within the dentate gyrus.