Adult neurogenesis, a dramatic form of adult brain circuitry plasticity, has been implicated in physiological brain function and appears to be of pivotal importance for certain forms of learning and memory. In selleck inhibitor addition, failing or altered neurogenesis has been associated with a variety of brain diseases such as major depression, epilepsy and age-related cognitive decline. Here we review recent advances in our understanding of the basic
biology underlying the neurogenic process in the adult brain, focusing on mechanisms that regulate quiescence, proliferation and differentiation of NSPCs. In addition, we discuss how neurogenesis influences normal brain function, and in particular its role in memory formation, as well as its contribution to neuropsychiatric diseases. Finally, we evaluate the potential of targeting endogenous NSPCs for brain repair. The brain is challenged
every day by new experiences that have to be integrated into previously acquired knowledge and skills. Changes in neural function and subsequent connectivity are referred to as neural plasticity. It was believed for a long time that experience-induced changes of neural networks could only affect existing neuronal cells (i.e. cells that were generated during embryonic or early postnatal development). This central dogma was based on the idea that the brain is too complex an organ to allow for the generation and subsequent integration
of newborn neurones, especially in the adult. However, initial AZD6244 ic50 evidence dating back to the 1960s, which was debated for decades and finally accepted in the mid-1990s, showed that the STK38 adult mammalian brain contains substantial numbers of neurogenic neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs) that retain the ability to generate new neurones throughout life [1–4]. Thus, these seminal findings challenged previously held concepts about brain function and added a novel level of complexity to our understanding of adult neural plasticity. However, the process of adding new neurones into the preexisting neural circuitry, called adult neurogenesis, is not widespread throughout the brain but rather limited to two main neurogenic areas: the subventricular zone (SVZ) lining the lateral ventricles where NSPCs divide and give rise to cells that migrate along the rostral migratory stream (RMS) towards the olfactory bulb (OB) where they differentiate into distinct types of olfactory neurones; and the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) where NSPCs generate cells that differentiate into newborn granule cells (substantial amounts of neurogenesis have been identified in these two brain regions in adult rodents and non-human primates; the evidence for adult neurogenesis in humans will be discussed below) [5–7].