A team led by scientists from the Universities of Geneva (UNIGE) and Lausanne (UNIL) has discovered the importance of cell metabolism in this process and identified how to wake up these neural stem cells and reactivate them. They successfully increased the number of new neurons in the brain of adult and even elderly mice.
The brain is constructed during embryonic development by neural stem cells (NSCs), which produce all other central nervous system cells, including neurons. Interestingly, NSCs keep growing and can produce new neurons in specific brain regions even after the brain has fully developed. Adult neurogenesis is a biological process crucial for particular tasks, including memory and learning.
However, in the adult brain, these stem cells become more silent or “dormant” and reduce their capacity for renewal and differentiation. As a result, neurogenesis decreases significantly with age.