Author(s): Nixon K, Morris SA, Liput DJ, Kelso ML
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Abstract This review discusses the contributions of a newly considered form of plasticity, the ongoing production of new neurons from neural stem cells, or adult neurogenesis, within the context of neuropathologies that occur with excessive alcohol intake in the adolescents. Neural stem cells and adult neurogenesis are now thought to contribute to the structural integrity of the hippocampus, a limbic system region involved in learning, memory, behavioral control, and mood. In adolescents with alcohol use disorders (AUDs), the hippocampus appears to be particularly vulnerable to the neurodegenerative effects of alcohol, but the role of neural stem cells and adult neurogenesis in alcoholic neuropathology has only recently been considered. This review encompasses a brief overview of neural stem cells and the processes involved in adult neurogenesis, how neural stem cells are affected by alcohol, and possible differences in the neurogenic niche between adults and adolescents. Specifically, what is known about developmental differences in adult neurogenesis between the adult and adolescent is gleaned from the literature, as well as how alcohol affects this process differently among the age groups. Finally, this review suggests differences that may exist in the neurogenic niche between adults and adolescents and how these differences may contribute to the susceptibility of the adolescent hippocampus to damage. However, many more studies are needed to discern whether these developmental differences contribute to the vulnerability of the adolescent to developing an AUD. 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This article was published in Alcohol
and referenced in Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy