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Adult Neurogenesis

Author(s): Tadzia GrandPré, PhD

Neurogenesis in the Adult Brain

The long-standing dogma that the brain of adult mammals is incapable of producing new neurons recently has been overturned. We now know that while most cells in the brain are born during the embryonic and early postnatal period of development, new neurons are generated throughout life and are added to at least two areas of the brain: the hippocampus (which is involved in certain types of learning and memory) and the olfactory bulb (which is involved in the sense of smell). These newly generated neurons arise from populations of cells known collectively as “neural precursors,” which can differentiate into the various types of cells that make up the nervous system. Adult neurogenesis (the birth of new neurons) has been demonstrated in a number of animals, including rodents, monkeys, and humans.