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Brain Struct Funct. 2019 Sep;224(7):2281-2295. doi: 10.1007/s00429-019-01917-6. Epub 2019 Jul 5.

A balanced evaluation of the evidence for adult neurogenesis in humans: implication for neuropsychiatric disorders.

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Department of Neuroscience, Yale University School of Medicine, SHM C317B, New Haven, CT, 06520, USA.
Department of Medicine, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Piscataway, NJ, 08554, USA.


There is a widespread belief that neurogenesis exists in adult human brain, especially in the dentate gyrus, and it is to be maintained and, if possible, augmented with different stimuli including exercise and certain drugs. Here, we examine the evidence for adult human neurogenesis and note important limitations of the methodologies used to study it. A balanced review of the literature and evaluation of the data indicate that adult neurogenesis in human brain is improbable. In fact, in several high-quality recent studies in adult human brain, unlike in adult brains of other species, neurogenesis was not detectable. These findings suggest that the human brain requires a permanent set of neurons to maintain acquired knowledge for decades, which is essential for complex high cognitive functions unique to humans. Thus, stimulation and/or injection of neural stem cells into human brains may not only disrupt brain homeostatic systems, but also disturb normal neuronal circuits. We propose that the focus of research should be the preservation of brain neurons by prevention of damage, not replacement.


Adult neurogenesis; Bromodeoxyuridine; DNA repair/methylation; Homeostasis; Memory; Neural stem cells; Neuronal protection

[Available on 2020-09-01]

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