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Frontiers in Biology

Front Biol    2013, Vol. 8 Issue (3) : 295-304
Adult neurogenesis in the mammalian brain
Simon M.G. BRAUN1,2, Sebastian JESSBERGER1,2()
1. Brain Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Zurich, 8057 Zurich, Switzerland; 2. Neuroscience Center Zurich, University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, Switzerland
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New neurons are generated throughout life in distinct areas of the mammalian brain. This process, called adult neurogenesis, has challenged previously held concepts about adult brain plasticity and opened novel therapeutic avenues to treat certain neuro-psychiatric diseases. Here, we review the current knowledge regarding the fate and potency of neural stem cells (NSCs), as well as the mechanisms underlying neuronal differentiation and subsequent integration. Furthermore, we discuss the functional significance of adult neurogenesis in health and disease, and offer brief insight into the future directions of the adult neurogenesis field.

Keywords adult neurogenesis      hippocampus      stem cell      memory      neuropsychiatric disease     
Corresponding Author(s): JESSBERGER Sebastian,   
Issue Date: 01 June 2013
 Cite this article:   
Simon M.G. BRAUN,Sebastian JESSBERGER. Adult neurogenesis in the mammalian brain[J]. Front Biol, 2013, 8(3): 295-304.
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Fig.1  Neurogenic regions in the adult mouse brain. Neural stem cells (NSCs) reside in the dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus as well as in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricles (NSC niches shown in green). In the DG, NSCs give rise to mature granule cells. In the SVZ, progenitor cells actively proliferate and give rise to neuroblasts that migrate along the rostral migratory stream (RMS) toward the olfactory bulb (OB), where they differentiate into olfactory interneurons (neuroblast migratory path shown in red).
Fig.2  Stages of adult neurogenesis in the SVZ. Type B neural stem cells that line the lateral ventricles (LV), reside in the subventricular zone (SVZ), express Sox2 (SRY sex determining region Y-box 2, blue), GFAP (glial fibrillary acidic protein, red) and Nestin, and have a process that projects into the ventricle. The type B cells can asymmetrically divide into another B cell and a type C progenitor cell. The actively proliferating type C cells express markers such as Ascl1 (achaete-scute homolog 1) and give rise to neuroblasts (type A) that migrate to the olfactory bulb (OB) and are positive for DCX (doublecortin) and Dlx2 (distal-less homeobox 2).
Fig.3  Stages of adult neurogenesis in the DG Relatively quiescent type 1 NSCs express Sox2 and GFAP, and are labeled with GFP in the NestinGFP and Spot14GFP transgenic mouse lines. Non-radial type 2 NSCs also express Sox2 and NestinGFP and give rise to neuroblasts that actively proliferate and express MCM2 (minichromosome maintenance complex component 2) and Tbr2 (T-box brain 2) as well as the immature neuron marker DCX. The newborn neurons continue to express DCX and Prox1 for 2-3 weeks as they mature into granule cells that express Prox1, NeuN and Calbindin. During the early stages of neurogenesis, newborn neurons receive excitatory GABA input. At three weeks of age, newborn neurons switch to inhibitory GABA and excitatory glutamatergic input, and project axons toward CA3 neurons.
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