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Formation of new nerve cells in the adult brain: mechanisms and possibilities

Prof. Dr. Herbert Zimmermann, Institute for Cell Biology and Neuroscience on June 9, 2008

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For a long time medicine assumed that the formation of new nerve cells in the brain only took place during embryonic development, and no longer happened after birth, especially in adult life. In his lecture, Prof. Herbert Zimmermann, Director of the Institute for Cell Biology and Neurosciences at the J.W. Goethe University, demonstrates that new nerve cells are also formed in adult brains from humans and mammals. These nerve cells arise in certain brain regions, the so-called neurogenic niches, from stem cells located there. New nerve cells are continually being generated particularly for the olfactory brain and hippocampus. At the moment the mechanisms that control the activation of neuronal stem cells and the subsequent migration and formation of new nerve cells is under intensive investigation. Understanding these mechanisms could lead to therapeutic approaches for treating diseases of the nervous system arising from acute or chronic damage to nerve cells.

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