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A wide range of cognitive deficits, including memory loss associated with hippocampal dysfunction, have been widely reported in cancer survivors who received chemotherapy. Changes in both white matter and gray matter volume have been observed following chemotherapy treatment, with reduced volume in the medial temporal lobe thought to be due in part to reductions in hippocampal neurogenesis. Pre-clinical rodent models confirm that common chemotherapeutic agents used to treat various forms of non-CNS cancers reduce rates of hippocampal neurogenesis and impair performance on hippocampally-mediated learning and memory tasks. We review the pre-clinical rodent literature to identify how various chemotherapeutic drugs affect hippocampal neurogenesis and induce cognitive impairment. We also review factors such as physical exercise and environmental stimulation that may protect against chemotherapy-induced neurogenic suppression and hippocampal neurotoxicity. Finally, we review pharmacological interventions that target the hippocampus and are designed to prevent or reduce the cognitive and neurotoxic side effects of chemotherapy.


Melanie J Sekeres, Meenakshie Bradley-Garcia, Alonso Martinez-Canabal, Gordon Winocur. Chemotherapy-Induced Cognitive Impairment and Hippocampal Neurogenesis: A Review of Physiological Mechanisms and Interventions. International journal of molecular sciences. 2021 Nov 24;22(23)

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PMID: 34884513

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