The olfactory system is unique in many respects—two of which include the process of adult
neurogenesis which continually supplies it with newborn neurons, and the fact that neurodegenerative
diseases are often accompanied by a loss of smell. A link between these two phenomena has been
hypothesized, but recent evidence for the lack of robust adult neurogenesis in the human olfactory system calls
into question this hypothesis. Nevertheless, model organisms continue to play a critical role in the exploration
of neurodegenerative disease. In part one of this review we discuss the most promising recent technological
advancements for studying adult neurogenesis in the murine olfactory system. Part two continues by looking at
emerging evidence related to adult neurogenesis in neurodegenerative disease studied in model organisms
and the differences between animal and human olfactory system adult neurogenesis. Hopefully, the careful
application of advanced research methods to the study of neurodegenerative disease in model organisms,
while taking into account the recently reported differences between the human and model organism olfactory
system, will lead to a better understanding of the reasons for the susceptibility of olfaction to disease.
Neural stem cells, neurodegenerative disease, olfaction, optogenetics, central nervous system, synaptic connections, neurons, neurogenesis, transduction, memory formation, electrophysiology, irradiation, neuroscience, astrocytes, periglomerular cells
Department of Neurosciences, Laboratory for Perception and Memory, Institut Pasteur, F-75015 Paris, France.