For a long time it was believed that the adult mammalian brain was completely unable to regenerate after insults. However, recent advances in the field of stem cell biology, including the identification of adult neural stem cells (NSCs) and evidence regarding a continuous production of neurons throughout life in the dentate gyrus (DG) and the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles (SVZ), have provided new hopes for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to induce regeneration in the damaged brain. Moreover, proofs have accumulated this last decade that endogenous stem/progenitor cells of the adult brain have an intrinsic capacity to respond to brain disorders. Here, we first briefly summarize our current knowledge related to adult neurogenesis before focusing on the behaviour of adult neural stem/progenitors cells following stroke and seizure, and describe some of the molecular cues involved in the response of these cells to injury. In the second part, we outline the consequences of three main neurodegenerative disorders on adult neurogenesis and we discuss the potential therapeutic implication of adult neural stem/progenitors cells during the course of these diseases.
Keywords: Adult neurogenesis, dentate gyrus, subventricular zone, stroke, seizure, neurodegenerative diseases