Adult neurogenesis results in the continuous formation of new neurons throughout the entire lifespan and occurs in all mammals. This newly-discovered phenomenon is a radical form of brain plasticity that challenges our understanding of brain function.
Adult neurogenesis occurs in two discrete brain areas: the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus. In the latter, new neurons are preferentially activated and play a crucial role in memory as well as mood control.
Our questions are:
Why and how is adult neurogenesis restricted to these two areas?
Can we enhance this mechanism to improve memory/mood control, or for brain repair?
To address these questions, we use various approaches:
• Advanced transgenic approaches
• Remote control of cell activity
• Advanced microscopy
• Behavioral tests
• in vitro culture of adult hippocampal stem cells
• Large-scale biochemical analysis
By better understanding how stem cells are maintained and regulated in the adult hippocampus, we hope to shed light on one of the most fascinating forms of brain plasticity and maybe, use this process for novel therapies.
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