Neural Stem Cells and Nutrients: Poised Between Quiescence and Exhaustion

Giovambattista Pani, Virve Cavallucci, Marco Fidaleo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Adult neurogenesis initiated by neural stem cells (NSCs) contributes to brain homeostasis, damage repair, and cognition. Energy metabolism plays a pivotal role in neurogenic cell fate decisions regarding self-renewal, expansion and multilineage differentiation. NSCs need to fine-tune quiescence and proliferation/commitment to guarantee lifelong neurogenesis and avoid premature exhaustion. Accumulating evidence supports a model whereby calorie restriction or increased energy expenditure reinforce NSC quiescence and promote self-renewal. Conversely, growth/proliferation inputs and anabolic signals, although necessary for neurogenesis, deplete the NSCs pool in the long run. This framework incorporates the emerging neurogenic roles of nutrient-sensing signaling pathways, providing a rationale for the alarming connection between nutritional imbalances, metabolic disorders and accelerated brain aging.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756-769
Number of pages14
JournalTrends in Endocrinology and Metabolism
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • adult neurogenesis
  • brain aging
  • metabolism
  • neural stem cells (NSC)
  • self-renewal


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