Modeling hippocampal neurogenesis across the lifespan in seven species

Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Aug;33(8):1664-71. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2011.03.008. Epub 2011 May 28.


The aim of this study was to estimate the number of new cells and neurons added to the dentate gyrus across the lifespan, and to compare the rate of age-associated decline in neurogenesis across species. Data from mice (Mus musculus), rats (Rattus norvegicus), lesser hedgehog tenrecs (Echinops telfairi), macaques (Macaca mulatta), marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri), and humans (Homo sapiens) were extracted from 21 data sets published in 14 different reports. Analysis of variance (ANOVA), exponential, Weibull, and power models were fit to the data to determine which best described the relationship between age and neurogenesis. Exponential models provided a suitable fit and were used to estimate the relevant parameters. The rate of decrease of neurogenesis correlated with species longevity (r = 0.769, p = 0.043), but not body mass or basal metabolic rate. Of all the cells added postnatally to the mouse dentate gyrus, only 8.5% (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.0% to 14.7%) of these will be added after middle age. In addition, only 5.7% (95% CI 0.7% to 9.9%) of the existing cell population turns over from middle age and onward. Thus, relatively few new cells are added for much of an animal's life, and only a proportion of these will mature into functional neurons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Aging / pathology
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Callithrix
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Cerebellar Nuclei
  • Computer Simulation
  • Hedgehogs
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / growth & development*
  • Humans
  • Longevity / physiology
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mice
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Models, Statistical
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Species Specificity
  • Tupaiidae