Nutrients and neurogenesis: the emerging role of autophagy and gut microbiota

Virve Cavallucci, Marco Fidaleo, Giovambattista Pani

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Adult neurogenesis, the generation of mature functional neurons from neural stem cells in specific regions of the adult mammalian brain, is implicated in brain physiology, neurodegeneration and mood disorders. Among the many intrinsic and extrinsic factors that modulate neurogenic activity, the role of nutrients, energy metabolism, and gut microbiota has recently emerged. It is increasingly evident that excessive calorie intake accelerates the age-dependent decline of neurogenesis, while calorie restriction and physical exercise have the opposite effect. Mechanistically, nutrient availability could affect neurogenesis by modulating autophagy, a cell-rejuvenating process, in neural stem cells. In parallel, diet can alter the composition of gut microbiota thus impacting the intestine-neurogenic niche communication. These exciting breakthroughs are here concisely reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-52
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Opinion in Pharmacology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Dec 20 2019


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