Content » Vol 35, Issue 41

Neurogenesis and its implications for regeneration in the adult brain

Peter S. Eriksson
Institute of Clinical Neuroscience Sahlgrenska Academy University of Göteborg Sweden

DOI: 10.1080/16501960310010098

Abstract

Recent findings concerning the regenerative potential of the adult brain suggest a more pronounced plasticity than previously thought. One such finding is the generation of new neurons in the adult brain (neurogenesis). Loss of neurons has long been considered to be irreversible in the adult human brain, i.e., dead neurons are not replaced. The inability to generate replacement cells is thought to be an important cause of neurological disease and impairment. In most brain regions, the generation of neurons is generally confined to a discrete developmental period. Exceptions have recently been described in several regions of the brain that have been shown to generate new neurons well into the postnatal and adult period. One of the best characterized regions is the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus in the brain, where granule neurons are generated throughout life from a population of progenitor/ stem cells. Furthermore, recent findings suggest that neurogenesis may be of importance for memory function as well as mood disorders. Several very important questions can be formulated on the basis of these discoveries, for instance, what factors influence the generation of new neurons and whether it is possible for enhanced neuro- genesis to contribute to functional recovery.

Lay Abstract

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