Neurogenesis in Substantia Nigra of Parkinsonian Brains?

  • Oscar Arias-Carrión
  • Elizabeth Yamada
  • Nils Freundlieb
  • Miriam Djufri
  • Lukas Maurer
  • Guido Hermanns
  • Bastian Ipach
  • Wei-Hua Chiu
  • Corinna Steiner
  • Wolfgang H Oertel
  • Günter U HöglingerEmail author
Part of the Journal of Neural Transmission. Supplementa book series (NEURALTRANS, volume 73)


The clinical motor dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease is primarily the consequence of a progressive degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra of the nigrostriatal pathway. The degeneration of this tract provokes a depletion of dopamine in the striatum, where it is required as a permissive factor for normal motor function. Despite intense investigations, no effective therapy is available to prevent the onset or to halt the progression of the neuronal cell loss. Therefore, recent years have seen research into the mechanisms of endogenous repair processes occurring in the adult brain, particularly in the substantia nigra. Neurogenesis occurs in the adult brain in a constitutive manner under physiological circumstances within two regions: the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus and the subventricular zone of the lateral ventricles. In contrast to these two so-called neurogenic areas, the remainder of the brain is considered to be primarily nonneurogenic in nature, implying that no new neurons are produced there under normal conditions. The occurrence of adult neurogenesis in the substantia nigra under the pathological conditions of Parkinson’s disease, however, remains controversial. Here, we review the published evidence of whether adult neurogenesis exists or not within the substantia nigra, where dopaminergic neurons are lost in Parkinson’s disease.


Dopamine Neurogenesis Parkinson’s disease Regenerative medicine Stem cells Substantia nigra 





Brain-derived neurotrophic factor




Glia-derived neurotrophic factor


Glial fibrillary acidic protein


Green fluorescent protein


Liver growth factor




Neuronal nuclei antigen


Neural stem cells


Olfactory bulb


Proliferating cells nuclear antigen


Parkinson’s disease


Platelet-derived growth factor-BB


Polysialylated neural cell adhesion molecule


Rostral migratory stream


Subgranular zone


Substantia Nigra pars compacta


Sustantia Nigra pars reticulata


Subventricular zone


Transforming growth factor-alpha



This work was supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research Network “Stem Cells in PD” (grant 01GN0513) and the Peter Hofmann Research Project. OA-C is funded by the DAAD.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag/Wien Printed in Germany 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oscar Arias-Carrión
    • 1
  • Elizabeth Yamada
    • 2
  • Nils Freundlieb
    • 1
  • Miriam Djufri
    • 1
  • Lukas Maurer
    • 1
  • Guido Hermanns
    • 1
  • Bastian Ipach
    • 1
  • Wei-Hua Chiu
    • 1
  • Corinna Steiner
    • 1
  • Wolfgang H Oertel
    • 1
  • Günter U Höglinger
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Experimental NeurologyPhilipps UniversityMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Biological SciencesFederal University of ParáBelémBrazil

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