Adult hippocampal neurogenesis – functional role and regulation by D-cyclins
Jena University Hospital (Germany)
Adult neurogenesis is a multi-stage process whereby neurons are generated from an activated neural stem cell via increasingly committed intermediate progenitor cells. Basically, it occurs in two regions of the brain, the hippocampal dentate gyrus and the subventricular zone-olfactory bulb system. It involves proliferation and differentiation and therefore is fundamentally linked to the cell cycle. Moreover, this process is not static but highly dynamic and tightly regulated, providing a mechanism through which the brain can adapt to changing cognitive demands. The adult-born neurons pass through a continuous process of morphological and functional maturation before fully integrating into the hippocampal network. Between 3-5 weeks of age, newborn neurons are highly excitable and exhibit enhanced synaptic plasticity. Because of these unique physiological features young neurons are deemed to play important roles in hippocampus-dependent memory.
In this talk I will 1) give a short introduction into the process of adult neurogenesis as well as the basic and brain-specific functions of D-cyclins, 2) discuss our findings on the role of adult-born neurons in hippocampus-related memory processes, and 3) show our recent data on the involvement of D-cyclins in the regulation of adult hippocampal stem and progenitor cells.