About this Research Topic
In 1965, Altman and Das claimed that neurons could be generated in the postnatal mammalian brain, a controversial discovery that met with great skepticism. Today it is widely accepted by the international scientific community that neurogenesis in mammals generates new neurons in the brain. This process is particularly evident during embryonic development but also continues in certain brain regions after birth and all over the lifespan. The capability of generating new neurons throughout adulthood has become a fascinating question even more considering the incredible diversity of neurons in the brain. Neurogenesis suggests that the adult brain exhibits more plasticity than previously thought, which has important implications for the normal functioning of the brain but most interestingly for the therapeutic role of neurogenesis in neurodegenerative diseases.
A wide variety of modulators of adult neurogenesis have been described including metabolic factors, signal transduction pathways, and recently the vascular and immune systems. Most of these factors control neural stem cell proliferation, maintenance in the adult neurogenic niche, and differentiation into mature neurons, therefore contributing to the construction and maintenance of neural circuits, and thus to learning and memory.
For years, the debate about whether neurogenesis exists in humans has been open and, at present, further evidence is needed before a final conclusion could be drawn. Moreover, alterations in adult neurogenesis appear to be a common hallmark in different animal models of neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease; however, only a few human postmortem studies have been performed.
Furthermore, various strategies are being investigated to find key modulators that stimulate neural stem cells proliferation and migration as well as neuronal differentiation within the context of a potential translation into therapeutic approaches for the treatment of these neurodegenerative disorders.
This Research Topic pretends to provide and discuss the latest evidence about the prevalence and/or stimulation of adult neurogenesis in the adult mammalian brain, humans included, and its implication in neurodegenerative disorders. This Topic is intended to describe and discuss multidisciplinary Original Research articles (and Reviews) providing new knowledge about the latest targets involved in the activation of the adult neurogenic niches as well as provide some of the innovative strategies proposed in humans and animals to enhance neurogenesis and counteract age-related cognitive deficits. The final aim is to provide a critical evaluation of how our basic knowledge of neurogenesis might eventually help combat or prevent neurodegenerative disorders.
The aim of this Research Topic is to provide new insights on:
- The discovery of new cellular and molecular targets that promotes neurogenesis;
- New intracellular pathways related to proliferation, migration, and maturation of neural stem cells;
- The promotion of neurogenesis in animal models of neurodegenerative diseases.
Keywords: Neurogenesis, Neural stem cell, Neural progenitor, Neurodegenerative diseases, New treatments
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