What is Neurogenesis?

Our brains are made of billions of cells. During development, stem cells receive signals from the outside environment that determine which kind of cell it will become within our brains. Sometimes, stem cells develop into neurons through a process called neurogenesis. In this blog post, we describe what neurogenesis is and elaborate on its role on brain development and health. 

What is neurogenesis?

Neurogenesis is the process by which new neurons are formed in the brain. In the early stages of development, neurogenic stem cells receive specialized signals from proneural genes. These signals then inform the cell’s genetic code as to whether to develop into a neuron or a support cell, such as an astrocyte or oligodendrocyte.

Does neurogenesis only happen in fetal and child development?

Neurogenesis is a lifelong process. Our brains are able to scrape away dead cells and allow new cells to grow. In adults, neurogenesis has been found to occur in three brain regions: 

  1. The subgranular zone, where learning and memory mechanisms are regulated.
  2. The subventricular zone, which lies throughout the walls of the lateral ventricles of the brain.
  3. The amygdala, the brain’s emotion-processing center. 

In adults, neurogenesis serves to help in maintaining cognitive functioning as well as our sense of smell. Other cognitive benefits of neurogenesis include regulation of memory and spatial skills. Psychologically, neurogenesis serves to help regulate mood.

Can I increase neurogenesis in my own brain?

Actually, you can. Research has shown that aerobic exercise may promote neurogenesis in the adult brain as modeled by rodent models. Exercise has many other known brain health benefits that should become a regular part of one’s routine. If you are working with a client looking to improve their brain health, you may want to find some ways to encourage your client to exercise in addition to eating well

What is neurogenesis? ⏐ Queensland Brain Institute
Dustin Luchmee

Dustin was HappyNeuron's Product Specialist. With research experience in stroke, Dustin learned how a stroke can change someone's life. He also learned how different kinds of therapists can work together to help a person get better. He is passionate about neuro-rehabilitation and finding the active ingredients for effective therapy.

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