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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2006 Aug 15;103(33):12564-8. Epub 2006 Aug 10.

Neocortical neurogenesis in humans is restricted to development.

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  • 1Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Medical Nobel Institute, and Department of Forensic Medicine, Karolinska Institute, SE-171 77 Stockholm, Sweden.


Stem cells generate neurons in discrete regions in the postnatal mammalian brain. However, the extent of neurogenesis in the adult human brain has been difficult to establish. We have taken advantage of the integration of (14)C, generated by nuclear bomb tests during the Cold War, in DNA to establish the age of neurons in the major areas of the human cerebral neocortex. Together with the analysis of the neocortex from patients who received BrdU, which integrates in the DNA of dividing cells, our results demonstrate that, whereas nonneuronal cells turn over, neurons in the human cerebral neocortex are not generated in adulthood at detectable levels but are generated perinatally.

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