PhD subject : Cognitive performances and neurogenesis during aging, in a non-human primate (Microcebus murinus)

Context and objectives :

 

In the past, until the 1960s, neurogenesis was believed to cease entirely, shortly after birth. However, the adult mammalian brain, including humans, houses neural stem cells in discrete locations, capable of generating new neurons throughout life. But this production represents only a small proportion of neurons relative to the total number of neurons in the brain. Even if the phenomenon is present in several areas, the adult brain is difficult to repair. Recent studies suggest that it would be possible to improve neurogenesis by behavioral (regular physical activity) or nutritional approaches (calorie restriction or omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid supplementation). Each of these approaches has shown marginal beneficial effects in several species, including humans. The combined effect of these approaches could improve the effects. Moreover, this multimodal approach will enable us to evaluate the impact of nutritional changes and physical activity on the phenomenon of neurogenesis during aging. We will also study the effect of these changes on different parameters such as cognitive functions (learning and memory) or the electrical activity in important neurogenic areas.