Human cells renew themselves in the striatum, a brain region involved in cognition and coordinating body movements.

Neurons are known to regenerate in the human adult hippocampus. To find out whether regeneration occurs in other areas, Jonas Frisén at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and his colleagues developed a carbon-14 dating technique. They compared levels of the isotope in DNA extracted from different areas of post-mortem brains with levels of atmospheric carbon-14 during the birth year and lifetime of the donors. The team found that the carbon-14 levels in the striatum matched atmospheric levels present after the birth of the donors, suggesting that new neurons in this brain region were generated post-natally.

Only a type of neuron called an interneuron seems to regenerate in the striatum.

Cell (2014)