Neural stem cells (NSCs) in the adult brain continuously supply new neurons to the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) and the olfactory bulb (OB). Recent studies indicate that the progression from neural precursor cells (NPCs) to mature neurons is tightly controlled by coordinate cell-intrinsic programs and external signals within the neurogenic niche. In this review, we summarize both classes of regulatory factors involved in distinct stages of adult neurogenesis, including proliferation and lineage differentiation of NSCs, migration of neuroblasts and integration of newborn neurons. A full understanding of the wide variety of signaling pathways will ultimately provide precise targets for therapeutic applications.
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