. Diminished adult neurogenesis in the marmoset brain precedes old age. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Oct 23;104(43):17169-73. PubMed.

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  1. This study demonstrates experimentally what many years of research have taken for granted—that some of the basic tenets of adult neurogenesis observed in rodents also hold true in the primate brain. The Gould group has contributed much of what we know about hippocampal neurogenesis in primates; here they show that marmosets experience a similar age-related decline in neuronal production as do mice and rats.

    The paper is fairly limited in scope, inasmuch as it examines only one time point after BrdU-labeling, but it does so in animals that span a wide range of ages (1.5-7 years, often with multiple animals at each age). Clearly, the study involved a massive amount of work and a large colony of aging animals.

    The authors conclude from their results that hippocampal neurogenesis declines before the onset of "old age,” and they attempt to make a distinction between aging and senescence that I feel may be hard to support at anything beyond the level of a single cell. Instead, their current data, as well as past work in rodents, suggest a gradual decline in neurogenesis with aging rather than a precipitous drop at an advanced stage. Nonetheless, this paper will serve as a benchmark study showing that hippocampal neurogenesis diminishes with age in primates just as it does in rodents.