Neurogenesis in the aging brain

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Abstract

Adult neurogenesis is the process of producing new neurons from neural stem cells (NSCs) for integration into the brain circuitry. Neurogenesis occurs throughout life in the ventricular-subventricular zone (V-SVZ) of the lateral ventricle and the subgranular zone (SGZ) of the hippocampal dentate gyrus. However, during aging, NSCs and their progenitors exhibit reduced proliferation and neuron production, which is thought to contribute to age-related cognitive impairment and reduced plasticity that is necessary for some types of brain repair. In this review, we describe NSCs and their niches during tissue homeostasis and how they undergo age-associated remodeling and dysfunction. We also discuss some of the functional ramifications in the brain from NSC aging. Finally, we discuss some recent insights from interventions in NSC aging that could eventually translate into therapies for healthy brain aging.

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