After birth neurons generally do not divide. But is there any specific type of rare cancer or tumour where neurons divide? And if there is such a cancer, then how is it possible for a neuron to regain the division power?

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    $\begingroup$ Related: biology.stackexchange.com/questions/10809/… $\endgroup$
    – von Mises
    Oct 28, 2013 at 15:05
  • $\begingroup$ You mean brain tumors? Those are actually not that rare... $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Oct 28, 2013 at 15:28
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    $\begingroup$ @nico I think brain tumours are caused by uncontrolled division of glia that surrounds the neurons not of neurons themselves. $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Oct 28, 2013 at 17:34
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    $\begingroup$ @biogirl: actually you are right, most brain tumours are glial. However, gangliocytomas have neuronal components and neurocytomas are strictly neuronal, although rare. $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Oct 28, 2013 at 19:24
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    $\begingroup$ @terdon: new neurons can be born in the adult brain. The phenomenon is less important (in terms of numbers) compared to other cell types, but still it exists. Adult neurogenesis has been reported in pretty much all mammals (see for instance: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16022595 ). To be honest, I do not know until what age this happens. Surely in the mouse adult neurogenesis is seen also even well after adolescence. $\endgroup$
    – nico
    Oct 29, 2013 at 7:19

1 Answer 1


I think that most mature cells do not divide in all tissues. If an organism needs to repair tissues, it uses tissue cell precursors -- stem cells.

In case of neurons, these are neuroblasts. Neuroblasts can divide and can repair brains under some circumstances (I don't know under which).

There is a cancer grown from neuroblasts, called neuroblastoma.

I think it is very improbable to have tumor from neurons, because division genes are turned off in mature cells. Can't state it is not occurring in practice.


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