Table of Contents
ISRN Neuroscience
Volume 2013, Article ID 354136, 14 pages
Review Article

The (Real) Neurogenic/Gliogenic Potential of the Postnatal and Adult Brain Parenchyma

Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi (NICO), University of Turin, Regione Gonzole 10, 10043 Turin, Italy

Received 18 December 2012; Accepted 8 January 2013

Academic Editors: A. K. Clark, A. Grant, and B.-Y. Zeng

Copyright © 2013 Luca Bonfanti. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


During the last two decades basic research in neuroscience has remarkably expanded due to the discovery of neural stem cells (NSCs) and adult neurogenesis in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS). The existence of such unexpected plasticity triggered hopes for alternative approaches to brain repair, yet deeper investigation showed that constitutive mammalian neurogenesis is restricted to two small “neurogenic sites” hosting NSCs as remnants of embryonic germinal layers and subserving homeostatic roles in specific neural systems. The fact that in other classes of vertebrates adult neurogenesis is widespread in the CNS and useful for brain repair sometimes creates misunderstandings about the real reparative potential in mammals. Nevertheless, in the mammalian CNS parenchyma, which is commonly considered as “nonneurogenic,” some processes of gliogenesis and, to a lesser extent, neurogenesis also occur. This “parenchymal” cell genesis is highly heterogeneous as to the position, identity, and fate of the progenitors. In addition, even the regional outcomes are different. In this paper the heterogeneity of mammalian parenchymal neurogliogenesis will be addressed, also discussing the most common pitfalls and misunderstandings of this growing and promising research field.