It was long thought that no new neurons are added to the adult brain. Similarly, neurotransmitter signaling was primarily associated with communication between differentiated neurons. Both of these ideas have been challenged, and a crosstalk between neurogenesis and neurotransmitter signaling is beginning to emerge. In this Review, we discuss neurotransmitter signaling as it functions at the intersection of stem cell research and regenerative medicine, exploring how it may regulate the formation of new functional neurons and outlining interactions with other signaling pathways. We consider evolutionary and cross-species comparative aspects, and integrate available results in the context of normal physiological versus pathological conditions. We also discuss the potential role of neurotransmitters in brain size regulation and implications for cell replacement therapies.
We thank Laura C. Bott for the design of figures.
This was supported by grants to A.S. from the Swedish Research Council, Swedish Cancer Society, AFA Insurances, European Research Council and Wenner-Gren Foundations; by an EMBO long-term fellowship to D.A.B.; and by the National Institutes of Health [H.J.S.]. Deposited in PMC for release after 12 months.
- Adult neurogenesis
- Neural stem cell