Restoring production of hippocampal neurons in old age

Nat Neurosci. 1999 Oct;2(10):894-7. doi: 10.1038/13197.


The production of hippocampal granule neurons continues throughout adulthood but dramatically decreases in old age. Here we show that reducing corticosteroid levels in aged rats restored the rate of cell proliferation, resulting in increased numbers of new granule neurons. This result indicates that the neuronal precursor population in the dentate gyrus remains stable into old age, but that neurogenesis is normally slowed by high levels of corticosteroids. The findings further suggest that decreased neurogenesis may contribute to age-related memory deficits associated with high corticosteroids, and that these deficits may be reversible.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / physiology
  • Adrenal Glands / physiology
  • Adrenalectomy
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Bromodeoxyuridine
  • Cell Division / physiology
  • Cell Survival / physiology
  • DNA / biosynthesis
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Biomarkers
  • DNA
  • Bromodeoxyuridine