Small molecules that promote neurogenesis in vitro

Recent Pat CNS Drug Discov. 2008 Nov;3(3):200-8. doi: 10.2174/157488908786242425.


Small molecule modulators of neural stem cell (NSC) differentiation might potentially be developed into orally administered neurogenic drugs to treat neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease. New technologies developed for the study of NSC culture, proliferation and differentiation have enabled the establishment of screening platforms to identify small molecules with neurogenic activity. Recent patents claim novel small molecules identified from screening collections that stimulate or otherwise regulate stem cell differentiation and neurogenesis. Several patents claim newly discovered NSC differentiation modulating activity of previously marketed drugs suggesting perhaps a previously unknown mechanism of action of these drugs and/or implicating the target enzyme and receptor pathways as key players in neurogenesis. This relatively new area of research into small molecule modulators of neurogenesis is reviewed and recent patents claiming small molecule neurogenic compounds, potentially orally administered CNS regenerative therapies are summarized.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Neurogenesis / drug effects*
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / physiology
  • PPAR gamma / drug effects
  • Receptors, Serotonin / drug effects
  • Stem Cells / cytology
  • Stem Cells / drug effects


  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • PPAR gamma
  • Receptors, Serotonin