Generation of new nerve cells (neurogenesis) is normally considered to be limited to the fetal and early postnatal period. Thus, damaged nerve cells are not expected to be replaced by generation of new cells. The brain is, however, more plastic than previously assumed. This also includes neurogenesis in the adult human brain. In particular two brain regions show continuous division of neural stem and progenitor cells generating neurons and glial cells, namely the subgranular zone of the dentate gyrus and the subventricular zones of the lateral ventricles. From the latter region newly generated neuroblasts (immature nerve cells) migrate toward the olfactory bulb where they differentiate into neurons. In the dentate gyrus the newly generated neurons become functionally integrated in the granule cell layer, where they are believed to be of importance to learning and memory. It is at present not known whether neurogenesis in the adult human brain can be manipulated for specific repair after brain damage.
Ugeskrift for Læger, 2003, Vol 165, Issue 14, p. 1443-1447