In the June 1, 2014 online issue of Nature Neuroscience Chay Kuo, M.D. Ph.D. of Duke reports that stimulating certain neurons in the adult mouse brain signaled stem cells in the subventricular zone (SVZ) of their brains to produce new neurons. The neurons that Dr. Kuo stimulated are designed to produce the choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) enzyme which is required to make the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Adult humans have the same equipment in their brains (i.e. the neurons that produce ChaT and the SVZ filled with stem cells).
Dr. Kuo hopes that one day in the future he may able to stimulate ChaT neurons in the adult human brain to signal stem cells in the SVZ to make new brain cells which will migrate to areas injured by TBI, stroke or degenerative brain disease. Although this development is still a long way off, Dr. Kuo will be doing his best to get there.