Of all organs in mammals including humans, the brain has the most limited regenerative capacity after injury or damage. In spite of extensive efforts to treat ischemic/stroke injury of the brain, thus far no reliable therapeutic method has been developed. However, some molluscan species show remarkable brain regenerative ability and can achieve full functional recovery following injury. The terrestrial pulmonates are equipped with a highly developed olfactory center, called the procerebrum, which is involved in olfactory discrimination and odor-aversion learning. Recent studies revealed that the procerebrum of the land slug can spontaneously recover structurally and functionally relatively soon after injury. Surprisingly, no exogenous interventions are required for this reconstitutive repair. The neurogenesis continues in the procerebrum in adult slugs as in the hippocampus and the olfactory bulb of mammals, and the reconstitutive regeneration seems to be mediated by enhanced neurogenesis. In this review, we discuss the relationship between neurogenesis and the regenerative ability of the brain, and also the evolutionary origin of the brain structures in which adult neurogenesis has been observed.
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