Hippocampal adult neurogenesis: Does the immune system matter?

Aline Silva de Miranda, Cun Jin Zhang, Atsuko Katsumoto, Antônio Lúcio Teixeira

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Adult hippocampal neurogenesis involves proliferation, survival, differentiation and integration of newborn neurons into pre-existing neuronal networks. Although its functional significance in the central nervous system (CNS) has not comprehensively elucidated, adult neurogenesis has been attributed a role in cognition, learning and memory. There is a growing body of evidence that CNS resident as well as peripheral immune cells participate in regulating hippocampal adult neurogenesis. Microglial cells are closely associated with neural stem/progenitor cell (NSPC) in the neurogenic niche engaged in a bidirectional communication with neurons, which may be important for adult neurogenesis. Microglial and neuronal crosstalk is mediated in part by CX3CL1/CX3CR1 signaling and a disruption in this pathway has been associated with impaired neurogenesis. It has been also reported that microglial neuroprotective or neurotoxic effects in adult neurogenesis occur in a context-dependent manner. Apart from microglia other brain resident and peripheral immune cells including pericytes, perivascular macrophages, mast cells and T-cells also modulate this phenomenon. It is worth mentioning that under some physiological circumstances such as normal aging there is a significant decrease in hippocampal neurogenesis. A role for innate and adaptive immune system in adult neurogenesis has been also reported during aging. Here, we review the current evidence regarding neuro-immune interactions in the regulation of neurogenesis under distinct conditions, including aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-495
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the Neurological Sciences
StatePublished - Jan 15 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Fracktalkine
  • Microglia
  • Newborn neurons
  • T-cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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