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Keywords:

  • CNS;
  • neural stem cells;
  • neurogenesis;
  • phylogenesis;
  • regeneration

Abstract

All vertebrates can produce new neurons postnatally in discrete regions of their nervous system, but only some lower vertebrates (fish and amphibians) can significantly repair several neural structures, including brain, spinal cord, retina, olfactory and auditory–vestibular system, to compensate for neural tissue loss and recover significant functionality. Some regenerative ability, however, is found also in reptiles and birds, and even in mammals. The recognition that neurogenesis indeed occurs in the CNS of all adult vertebrates challenges the view that there is a simple relationship between maintenance of neurogenic regions in the adult CNS and regenerative capability. The aim of this review is to revisit this relationship in the light of recent literature focusing on selected examples of neurogenesis and regeneration, and discuss possible frameworks that may help to elucidate the relationship between adult neurogenesis and regeneration. This could provide useful paradigms for harnessing regeneration in the human CNS.