Adult neurogenesis occurs throughout life in restricted brain regions in mammals. However, the number of neural stem cells (NSCs) that generate new neurons steadily decreases with age, resulting in a decrease in neurogenesis. Transplantation of mesenchymal cells or cultured NSCs has been studied as a promising treatment in models of several brain injuries including cerebral infarction and cerebral contusion. Considering the problems of host-versus-graft reactions and the tumorigenicity of transplanted cells, the mobilization of endogenous adult NSCs should be more feasible for the treatment of these brain injuries. However, the number of adult NSCs in the adult brain is limited, and their mitotic potential is low. Here, we outline what we know to date about why the number of NSCs and adult neurogenesis decrease with age. We also discuss issues applicable to regenerative medicine.
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