Adult neurogenesis in Parkinson's disease

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Feb;70(3):459-73. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-1062-x. Epub 2012 Jul 6.


Parkinson's disease (PD), the second most common neurodegenerative disorder, affects 1-2 % of humans aged 60 years and older. The diagnosis of PD is based on motor symptoms such as bradykinesia, rigidity, tremor, and postural instability associated with the striatal dopaminergic deficit that is linked to neurodegenerative processes in the substantia nigra (SN). In the past, cellular replacement strategies have been evaluated for their potential to alleviate these symptoms. Adult neurogenesis, the generation of new neurons within two proliferative niches in the adult brain, is being intensively studied as one potential mode for cell-based therapies. The subventricular zone provides new neurons for the olfactory bulb functionally contributing to olfaction. The subgranular zone of the hippocampus produces new granule neurons for the dentate gyrus, required for memory formation and proper processing of anxiety provoking stimuli. Recent years have revealed that PD is associated with non-motor symptoms such as hyposmia, anhedonia, lack of novelty seeking behavior, depression, and anxiety that are not directly associated with neurodegenerative processes in the SN. This broad spectrum of non-motor symptoms may partly rely on proper olfactorial processing and hippocampal function. Therefore, it is conceivable that some non-motor deficits in PD are related to defective adult neurogenesis. Accordingly, in animal models and postmortem studies of PD, adult neurogenesis is severely affected, although the exact mechanisms and effects of these changes are not yet fully understood or are under debate due to conflicting results. Here, we review the current concepts related to the dynamic interplay between endogenous cellular plasticity and PD-associated pathology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine / chemistry
  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hippocampus / cytology
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Neurogenesis*
  • Olfactory Bulb / cytology
  • Olfactory Bulb / metabolism
  • Parkinson Disease / metabolism*
  • Parkinson Disease / pathology
  • alpha-Synuclein / metabolism


  • alpha-Synuclein
  • 1-Methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine