J. Neurochem. (2010) 115, 956–964.
Neurogenesis, the birth of new neurons, continues throughout adulthood in the human subventricular zone (SVZ) and hippocampus. It is not known how levels of putative proliferation-regulating factors change with age in human adult neurogenic areas. The current project employed ELISAs to investigate changes in levels of putative proliferation-regulating factors in the healthy human SVZ and dentate gyrus throughout the adult lifespan (18–104 years). Levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, basic fibroblast growth factor and interleukin (IL)-1β were significantly higher in the hippocampus than in the SVZ and levels of glial-derived neurotrophic factor and transforming growth factor-α were significantly higher in the SVZ (p < 0.005), suggesting that factors with predominant influences on neurogenesis differ between the two human adult neurogenic areas. Hippocampal levels of transforming growth factor-β1 strongly increased with age (n = 9, p < 0.01), whereas hippocampal and SVZ levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, epidermal growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, glial-derived neurotrophic factor, heparin-binding epidermal growth factor, insulin-like growth factor-1, IL-1β, IL-6 and transforming growth factor-α did not change significantly with age in the SVZ or hippocampus. These findings suggest regulation of the adult neurogenic environment in the human brain may differ over time from that in other species.