Accumulating evidence from animal and human research indicate that adult hippocampal neurogenesis plays a key role in cognition. Meanwhile, cognitive decline is well known to associate with ageing-related neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Therefore, prevention of hippocampal neurogenesis reduction should be critical for these diseases. Physical exercise, a potent enhancer of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, has emerged as a potential therapy or an adjunctive therapeutic strategy for cognitive decline.
In this review, we discuss the recent findings on hippocampal neurogenesis and the incorporation of new born neurons into the neuronal network in humans and in rodents. By focusing on hippocampal neurogenesis, we illustrate the role and possible mechanisms of physical exercise in cognition preservation.