Cell cycle regulation in the postmitotic neuron: oxymoron or new biology?

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2007 May;8(5):368-78. doi: 10.1038/nrn2124.


Adult CNS neurons are typically described as permanently postmitotic but there is probably nothing permanent about the neuronal cell cycle arrest. Rather, it appears that these highly differentiated cells must constantly keep their cell cycle in check. Relaxation of this vigilance leads to the initiation of a cell cycle and entrance into an altered and vulnerable state, often leading to death. There is evidence that neurons which are at risk of neurodegeneration are also at risk of re-initiating a cell cycle process that involves the expression of cell cycle proteins and DNA replication. Failure of cell cycle regulation might be a root cause of several neurodegenerative disorders and a final common pathway for others.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / cytology
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / growth & development
  • Cell Cycle / physiology*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA Replication / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurons / physiology*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins