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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2004 Jan 6;101(1):343-7. Epub 2003 Dec 5.

Increased hippocampal neurogenesis in Alzheimer's disease.

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Buck Institute for Age Research, Novato, CA 94945, USA.


Neurogenesis, which persists in the adult mammalian brain, may provide a basis for neuronal replacement therapy in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease (AD). Neurogenesis is increased in certain acute neurological disorders, such as ischemia and epilepsy, but the effect of more chronic neurodegenerations is uncertain, and some animal models of AD show impaired neurogenesis. To determine how neurogenesis is affected in the brains of patients with AD, we investigated the expression of immature neuronal marker proteins that signal the birth of new neurons in the hippocampus of AD patients. Compared to controls, Alzheimer's brains showed increased expression of doublecortin, polysialylated nerve cell adhesion molecule, neurogenic differentiation factor and TUC-4. Expression of doublecortin and TUC-4 was associated with neurons in the neuroproliferative (subgranular) zone of the dentate gyrus, the physiological destination of these neurons (granule cell layer), and the CA1 region of Ammon's horn, which is the principal site of hippocampal pathology in AD. These findings suggest that neurogenesis is increased in AD hippocampus, where it may give rise to cells that replace neurons lost in the disease, and that stimulating hippocampal neurogenesis might provide a new treatment strategy.

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