Alzheimer's Disease and Hippocampal Adult Neurogenesis; Exploring Shared Mechanisms

Front Neurosci. 2016 May 3:10:178. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00178. eCollection 2016.


New neurons incorporate into the granular cell layer of the dentate gyrus throughout life. Neurogenesis is modulated by behavior and plays a major role in hippocampal plasticity. Along with older mature neurons, new neurons structure the dentate gyrus, and determine its function. Recent data suggest that the level of hippocampal neurogenesis is substantial in the human brain, suggesting that neurogenesis may have important implications for human cognition. In support of that, impaired neurogenesis compromises hippocampal function and plays a role in cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease mouse models. We review current work suggesting that neuronal differentiation is defective in Alzheimer's disease, leading to dysfunction of the dentate gyrus. Additionally, alterations in critical signals regulating neurogenesis, such as presenilin-1, Notch 1, soluble amyloid precursor protein, CREB, and β-catenin underlie dysfunctional neurogenesis in Alzheimer's disease. Lastly, we discuss the detectability of neurogenesis in the live mouse and human brain, as well as the therapeutic implications of enhancing neurogenesis for the treatment of cognitive deficits and Alzheimer's disease.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; cognition; hippocampus; learning and memory; neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Review