From progenitors to integrated neurons: role of neurotransmitters in adult olfactory neurogenesis

J Chem Neuroanat. 2011 Dec;42(4):304-16. doi: 10.1016/j.jchemneu.2011.05.006. Epub 2011 May 27.


Adult neurogenesis is due to the persistence of pools of constitutive stem cells able to give rise to a progeny of proliferating progenitors. In rodents, adult neurogenic niches have been found in the subventricular zone (SVZ) along the lateral ventricles and in the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus in the hippocampus. SVZ progenitors undergo a unique process of tangential migration from the lateral ventricle to the olfactory bulb (OB) where they differentiate mainly into GABAergic interneurons in the granule and glomerular layers. SVZ progenitor proliferation, migration and differentiation into fully integrated neurons, are strictly related processes regulated by complex interactions between cell intrinsic and extrinsic influences. Numerous observations demonstrate that neurotrasmitters are involved in all steps of the adult neurogenic process, but the understanding of their role is hampered by their intricate mechanism of action and by the highly complex network in which neurotransmitters work. By considering the three main steps of olfactory adult neurogenesis (proliferation, migration and integration), this review will discuss recent advances in the study of neurotransmitters, highlighting the regulatory mechanisms upstream and downstream their action.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cellular Senescence / physiology
  • Humans
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurotransmitter Agents / physiology*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / growth & development*
  • Stem Cells / physiology*


  • Neurotransmitter Agents