Relationships between seasonal (spring, summer, autumnal) thermal variations and cell proliferation in heterothermic vertebrates, as revealed by PCNA expression in the brain of adult Triturus carnifex

Vito Margotta, Claudio Chimenti


Inspired both by the literature reports and our previous findings on the question if a seasonal cycle alone, consisting of temperature and photoperiod variations, might impact on or activate natural proliferative fluctuations or unmask a latent spontaneous proliferative power in adult brain of poikilothermal Anamnia (fresh water, earth-dwelling) and Amniota (terrestrial), consequently allowing for encephalic reparative and even regenerative potentialities, an investigation has been carried on in normal adult brain of Triturus carnifex caught in nature in spring, summer, autumn. Cells immunostained for PCNA, i.e. cycling cells, were found scattered (“matrix cells”) in the olfactory territories, where they appeared scarce in spring, more frequent in summer, noticeable in autumn; also, immunostained cells were found clustered in “matrix areas”, also named zonae germinativae dorsales and ventrales, in the telencephalic hemispheres: few clusters in spring, an intermediate condition in summer, frequent cell groups in autumn. These results reveal an increasing trend in proliferation from spring, through summer, to autumn. This scenario was appreciable in the forebrain, mainly in the olfactory and telencephalic districts, which is the typical site of stem cells. Signs of potential proliferative activity are well appreciable in the urodele Amphibians, which are the best provided among vertebrates with reparative and regenerative power and possess the richest endowment of dormant cells susceptible to be recruited to proliferation.


seasonal influence; neural matrix cells/areas, Triturus

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