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Neurobiol Learn Mem. 1995 May;63(3):217-9.

Differential rearing alters spine density on medium-sized spiny neurons in the rat corpus striatum: evidence for association of morphological plasticity with early response gene expression.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Illinois, Urbana 61801, USA.


Morphological plasticity of medium-sized spiny neurons of the striatum was examined in Long-Evans hooded rats reared in complex or individual cage environments. Rat pups, aged 28-32 days, were housed either individually in standard laboratory cages or as a group in a large toy- and object-filled environment for 30 days. The spine density on dendrites of medium-sized spiny neurons in the dorsolateral striatum was then examined using the Golgi-Cox method. Rats reared in the complex environment displayed an increase of approximately 30% in spine density relative to those reared individually. These results demonstrate experience-dependent changes in neural structure in the striatum and suggest that the mechanisms for information storage in response to experience may be more widespread in the forebrain than previously believed.

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