The generation and cell death of newly generated cells have critical roles in brain development and maintenance in the embryonic and adult brain. Alterations in these processes are also seen in neurodegenerative diseases. Genes that are key players in neurodegenerative diseases (α-synuclein, presenilin-1, tau, huntingtin) are also physiologically involved in modulating brain plasticity. Interestingly, in some neurodegenerative diseases, the specific alterations in neurogenic areas such as the dentate gyrus and subventricular zone/olfactory bulb system parallel the early or premotor symptoms that are seen in the early stages of these diseases, such as depression, anxiety or olfactory dysfunction. We will review the modulation of neurogenesis in animal models and human brains of Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
© 2011 The Authors. European Journal of Neuroscience © 2011 Federation of European Neuroscience Societies and Blackwell Publishing Ltd.