Hippocampal adult neurogenesis results in the persisting formation of new neurons that contribute to hippocampal-dependent learning and memory. This has led to the hypothesis that memory impairments associated with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease may involve abnormal neurogenesis. Supporting this idea, evidence for decreased adult neurogenesis has been reported in the brain of Alzheimer's disease patients and in several mouse models of the disease. Thus, the development of strategies designed to stimulate the production of new neurons in the diseased brain has raised growing interest. In this review, we discuss putative strategies and present recent studies showing that it is now possible to instruct hippocampal endogenous neural progenitors to adopt an exclusive neuronal fate. We further report how such strategies lead to the rescue of cognitive functions in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease. Altogether, these findings provide the proof-of-concept that neurogenesis can be stimulated in the adult brain in vivo, and consequently overcomes pathological memory deficits.
Keywords: NeuroD1; mouse; neurodegenerative disease; plasticity.
© 2018 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.