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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jul 5;102(27):9697-702. Epub 2005 Jun 23.

Critical period for sensory experience-dependent survival of newly generated granule cells in the adult mouse olfactory bulb.

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Department of Physiology, Graduate School of Medicine, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.


Granule cells in the olfactory bulb (OB) are continually produced and added into the neuronal circuit in the adult brain. Sensory input to the OB plays a key role in the survival of newly generated granule cells. Here, we examined in the adult mice whether there is a time window after the generation of new granule cells when their survival is strongly influenced by sensory input. New granule cells were labeled by BrdUrd injection, and the mice were deprived of sensory input unilaterally by naris cauterization. During the initial 14 days after BrdUrd labeling, the number of BrdUrd-positive granule cells was similar for deprived and undeprived OBs. At 28 days or later, the BrdUrd-positive cell number remarkably decreased in the deprived OB. Cauterization at days 14-28 effectively reduced the number of BrdUrd-positive granule cells, whereas 2-week cauterization before or after this period produced little effect. Administration of diazepam, a GABAA receptor modulator, decreased the number of BrdUrd-positive granule cells. The diazepam administration was most effective at days 14-28. Histochemical examination showed that activation of caspase-3 was accompanied by apoptotic cell death of granule cells that was induced by sensory deprivation or diazepam administration. Double labeling with activated caspase-3 and BrdUrd indicated that granule cells at days 14-20 were most susceptible to cell death. These results indicate that there is a critical period when the survival of new granule cells is determined in a sensory experience-dependent manner and that the pharmacological manipulation can mimic the effect of sensory deprivation.

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