Scientists have previously described the continuous generation of newborn neurons in restricted regions of the adult mammalian brain, a process referred to as adult neurogenesis. Investigators at the National Institutes of Health have provided more details on the functional importance of adult neurogenesis, showing that the mouse olfactory system requires a constant supply of adult-born neurons from the subventricular zone deep within the brain to structurally stabilize mature neural circuits within the olfactory bulb that are critical for sensing odors (Cummings DM et al. J Neurosci. 2014;34:13801-13810). The study also found that these newborn neurons restore olfactory bulb neural circuits that have been disrupted by sensory deprivation.
Hampton T. New Neurons Needed to Maintain Smell Circuits. JAMA. 2014;312(20):2082. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15133