Adult neurogenesis in the mammalian dentate gyrus
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Earlier observations in neuroscience suggested that no new neurons form in the mature central nervous system. Evidence now indicates that new neurons do form in the adult mammalian brain. Two regions of the mature mammalian brain generate new neurons: (a) the border of the lateral ventricles of the brain (subventricular zone) and (b) the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. This review focuses only on new neuron formation in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. During normal prenatal and early postnatal development, neural stem cells (NSCs) give rise to differentiated neurons. NSCs persist in the dentate gyrus SGZ, undergoing cell division, with some daughter cells differentiating into functional neurons that participate in learning and memory and general cognition through integration into pre-existing neural networks. Axons, which emanate from neurons in the entorhinal cortex, synapse with dendrites of the granule cells (small neurons) of the dentate gyrus. Axons from granule cells synapse with pyramidal cells in the hippocampal CA3 region, which send axons to synapse with CA1 hippocampal pyramidal cells that send their axons out of the hippocampus proper. Adult neurogenesis includes proliferation, differentiation, migration, the death of some newly formed cells and final integration of surviving cells into neural networks. We summarise these processes in adult mammalian hippocampal neurogenesis and discuss the roles of major signalling molecules that influence neurogenesis, including neurotransmitters and some hormones. The recent controversy raised concerning whether or not adult neurogenesis occurs in humans also is discussed.
author list (cited authors)
Abbott, L. C., & Nigussie, F.