Adult neurogenesis: a compensatory mechanism for neuronal damage

Eur Arch Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2001 Aug;251(4):152-8. doi: 10.1007/s004060170035.


It is now evident that the adult vertebrate brain including the human brain is efficiently and continuously generating new neurons. In the first part we describe the current view of how neurons are generated in the adult brain and the possible compensatory reactions to pathological situations in which neuronal damage might stimulate neural stem cell activity. In the second part, we discuss the current knowledge on the signals and cells involved in the process of neurogenesis. This knowledge is important because any neuronal replacement strategy depends on our ability to induce or modulate each step on the way to a new neuron: stem cell proliferation, cell fate determination, progenitor migration, and differentiation into specific neuronal phenotypes. Identification of the molecular signals that control these events are essential for the application of neural stem cell biology to develop repair strategies for neurodegenerative disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / physiology
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology*
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Movement
  • Humans
  • Myeloid Progenitor Cells / physiology
  • Nerve Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Nerve Growth Factors / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / agonists
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / metabolism*
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Nerve Growth Factors
  • Neurotransmitter Agents