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Hippocampus. 2012 May;22(5):1134-42. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20959. Epub 2011 Jun 21.

Neurons generated in senescence maintain capacity for functional integration.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


Adult-born neurons in the dentate gyrus (DG) can survive for long periods, are capable of integrating into neuronal networks, and are important for hippocampus-dependent learning. Neurogenesis is dramatically reduced during senescence, and it remains unknown whether those few neurons that are produced remain capable of network integration. The expression of Arc, a protein coupled to neuronal activity, was used to measure activity among granule cells that were labeled with BrdU 4 months earlier in young (9 months) and aged (25 months) Fischer344 rats. The results indicate that while fewer cells are generated in the senescent DG, those that survive are (a) more likely to respond to spatial processing by expressing Arc relative to the remainder of the granule cell population and (b) equally responsive to spatial exploration as granule cells of the same age from young animals. These findings provide compelling evidence that newborn granule cells in the aged DG retain the capacity for participation in functional hippocampal networks.

Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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