Mol Neurodegener. 2011 Dec 22;6:85. doi: 10.1186/1750-1326-6-85.
Mu Y, Gage FH.
The hippocampus, a brain area critical for learning and memory, is especially vulnerable to damage at early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Emerging evidence has indicated that altered neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus represents an early critical event in the course of AD. Although causal links have not been established, a variety of key molecules involved in AD pathogenesis have been shown to impact new neuron generation, either positively or negatively. From a functional point of view, hippocampal neurogenesis plays an important role in structural plasticity and network maintenance. Therefore, dysfunctional neurogenesis resulting from early subtle disease manifestations may in turn exacerbate neuronal vulnerability to AD and contribute to memory impairment, whereas enhanced neurogenesis may be a compensatory response and represent an endogenous brain repair mechanism. Here we review recent findings on alterations of neurogenesis associated with pathogenesis of AD, and we discuss the potential of neurogenesis-based diagnostics and therapeutic strategies for AD.