Human adult hippocampal neurogenesis during physiological and pathological aging

The hippocampus, a brain region crucial for learning and memory hosts one of the most unique phenomena of the adult mammalian brain, namely the addition of new neurons throughout lifetime. Memory impairment in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) can be attributed to a significant decline in the functioning of the hippocampal formation. Studies in mice suggest that the disease could also target the generation of new neurons – or adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN). In this talk, I will revisit the occurrence of continued neurogenesis in the human hippocampus of aged healthy subjects and patients with neurodegenerative diseases, using brain material obtained under tightly controlled conditions and applying state-of-the-art tissue processing methods. Our data evidence that AHN is a robust phenomenon in the human brain, and points to impaired neurogenesis as a potentially relevant mechanism underlying AD that may be amenable to novel therapeutic strategies.