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PLoS One. 2008;3(12):e3835. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0003835. Epub 2008 Dec 2.

Time-of-day-dependent enhancement of adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics and Biochemistry, Graduate School of Science, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan.



Adult neurogenesis occurs in specific regions of the mammalian brain such as the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. In the neurogenic region, neural progenitor cells continuously divide and give birth to new neurons. Although biological properties of neurons and glia in the hippocampus have been demonstrated to fluctuate depending on specific times of the day, it is unclear if neural progenitors and neurogenesis in the adult brain are temporally controlled within the day.


Here we demonstrate that in the dentate gyrus of the adult mouse hippocampus, the number of M-phase cells shows a day/night variation throughout the day, with a significant increase during the nighttime. The M-phase cell number is constant throughout the day in the subventricular zone of the forebrain, another site of adult neurogenesis, indicating the daily rhythm of progenitor mitosis is region-specific. Importantly, the nighttime enhancement of hippocampal progenitor mitosis is accompanied by a nighttime increase of newborn neurons.


These results indicate that neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus occurs in a time-of-day-dependent fashion, which may dictate daily modifications of dentate gyrus physiology.

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