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Neurotransmitters and Substances of Abuse: Effects on Adult Neurogenesis

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Neurogenesis in the adult brain is now a well-recognized phenomenon. The compelling subject of interest now is that besides the intrinsic, what are the environmental factors which affect neural stem cells ability to maintain themselves and enter the pool of the adult brain. While the molecular and cellular mechanisms that regulate this process remain to be elucidated, substantial data implicate common pathways involving action of neurotransmitters through neurotrophic factors to regulate the neural stem cells. This transmitter-mediated neurotrophic factor pathway could be altered by extrinsic environmental factors including enriched environment, exercise, stress, and drug abuse (i.e. alcohol, opioid, methamphetamine). Our special attention focuses on the role of neurotransmitters; among them are serotonin (5- HT), glutamate and gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA). Substances of abuse including alcohol, which may interact through these neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors to affect neurogenesis, are also reviewed.
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Keywords: alcohol; brain-derived neurotrophic factor; gamma-amino-butyric acid; glutamate; methamphetamine; neural stem cells; opioid; serotonin

Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Indiana University School of Medicine, 635 Barnhill Drive MS5035, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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  • Current Neurovascular Research (CNR) provides a cross platform for the publication of scientifically rigorous research that addresses disease mechanisms of both neuronal and vascular origins in neuroscience. The journal serves as an international forum for the publication of novel and pioneering original work as well as timely neuroscience research reviews in the disciplines of cell developmental disorders, plasticity, and degeneration that bridge the gap between basic science research and clinical discovery. CNR emphasizes the elucidation of disease mechanisms, both cellular and molecular, which can impact the development of unique therapeutic strategies for neuronal and vascular disorders.
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