Neurogenesis and Disease
The birth of new neurons in the hippocampus also may play a role in various neurological disorders and diseases, including epilepsy and depression. Studies have shown that many therapies and medications used successfully to treat individuals suffering from depression can cause an increase in the production of new hippocampal neurons. Others have demonstrated that the beneficial effects of some antidepressants are blocked when neurogenesis is prevented. These and other observations suggest that a reduction of neurogenesis could be an underlying cause of depression. If this hypothesis is correct, it may be possible to help people who are suffering from depression by developing ways to increase the production of new neurons in the hippocampus. In contrast, by using animals to study temporal lobe epilepsy, scientists have shown that neurogenesis increases in response to prolonged seizure activity. However, in this case, the production of new neurons is not beneficial because those neurons develop, migrate, and integrate inappropriately and seem to contribute to recurrent seizures. Although the functional significance of abnormal neurogenesis in these and other medical conditions is not yet understood, it is an intense area of research that may one day yield new treatments for these disorders.
- Malberg, J. E. (2004). Implications of adult hippocampal neurogenesis in antidepressant action. Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, 29, 196-205.
- Parent, J. M., Elliott, R.C., Pleasure, S. J., Barbaro, N. M., & Lowenstein, D. H. (2006). Aberrant seizure-induced neurogenesis in experimental temporal lobe epilepsy. Annals of Neurology, 59, 81-91.
- Santarelli, L., Saxe, M., Gross, C., Surget, A., Battaglia, F., Dulawa, S., Weisstaub, N., Lee, J., Duman, R., Arancio, O., Belzung, C., & Hen, R. (2003). Requirement of hippocampal neurogenesis for the behavioral effects of antidepressants. Science, 301, 805-809.
- Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Body. (1918). Gray 1197. Retrieved 03-19-07 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Gray1197.png
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