Neurogenesis in the aged and neurodegenerative brain

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It has been well established that adult neurogenesis occurs throughout life in the subventricular (SVZ) and subgranular (SGZ) zones. However, the exact role of this type of brain plasticity is not yet clear. Many studies have shown that neurogenesis is involved in learning and memory. This has led to a hypothesis which suggests that impairment in memory during aging and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) may involve abnormal neurogenesis. Indeed, during aging, there is an age-related decline in adult neurogenesis. This decline is mostly related to decreased proliferation, associated to decreased stimulation to proliferate in an aging brain. In AD, there is also evidence for decreased neurogenesis, that accompanies the neuronal loss characteristic of the disease. Interestingly in AD, there is increased proliferation, that may be caused by increasing amounts of soluble amyloid 42-protein (Aβ42). However, most of these new neurons die, and fibrillar Aβ42 seems to be involved in generating an inappropriate environment for these neurons to mature. These findings open prospects for new strategies that can increase neurogenesis in normal or pathological processes in the aging brain, and by that decrease memory deficits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1415-1421
Number of pages7
JournalApoptosis : an international journal on programmed cell death
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2010


  • Aging
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Brain
  • Learning and memory
  • Neural stem cells
  • Neurogenesis
  • Plasticity


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