Psychiatric disorders continue to be among the most challenging disorders to diagnose and treat because there is no single genetic or anatomical locus that is causative for the disease. Current treatments are often blunt tools used to ameliorate the most severe symptoms, at the risk of disrupting functional neural systems. There is a critical need to develop new therapeutic strategies that can target circumscribed functional or anatomical domains of pathology. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis may be one such domain. Here, we review the evidence suggesting that adult hippocampal neurogenesis plays a role in emotional regulation and forms of learning and memory that include temporal and spatial memory encoding and context discrimination, and that its dysregulation is associated with psychiatric disorders, such as affective disorders, schizophrenia, and drug addiction. Further, adult neurogenesis has proven to be an effective model to investigate basic processes of neuronal development and converging evidence suggests that aberrant neural development may be an etiological factor, even in late-onset diseases. Constitutive neurogenesis in the hippocampus of the mature brain reflects large-scale plasticity unique to this region and could be a potential hub for modulation of a subset of cognitive and affective behaviors that are affected by multiple psychiatric disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)