The Impact of Ethologically Relevant Stressors on Adult Mammalian Neurogenesis

Brain Sci. 2019 Jul 4;9(7):158. doi: 10.3390/brainsci9070158.


Adult neurogenesis-the formation and functional integration of adult-generated neurons-remains a hot neuroscience topic. Decades of research have identified numerous endogenous (such as neurotransmitters and hormones) and exogenous (such as environmental enrichment and exercise) factors that regulate the various neurogenic stages. Stress, an exogenous factor, has received a lot of attention. Despite the large number of reviews discussing the impact of stress on adult neurogenesis, no systematic review on ethologically relevant stressors exists to date. The current review details the effects of conspecifically-induced psychosocial stress (specifically looking at the lack or disruption of social interactions and confrontation) as well as non-conspecifically-induced stress on mammalian adult neurogenesis. The underlying mechanisms, as well as the possible functional role of the altered neurogenesis level, are also discussed. The reviewed data suggest that ethologically relevant stressors reduce adult neurogenesis.

Keywords: adult neurogenesis; dominance hierarchy; social defeat; social isolation; social stress.

Publication types

  • Review