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Neuroscience. 2005;135(2):395-402.

Effect of long-lasting serotonin depletion on environmental enrichment-induced neurogenesis in adult rat hippocampus and spatial learning.

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1
Department of Histology and Neurobiology, Dokkyo University School of Medicine, Mibu Tochigi 321-0293, Japan. shu-ueda@dokkyomed.ac.jp

Abstract

The dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation produces new neurons throughout adulthood in mammalian species. Several experimental statuses and factors regulating to neurogenesis have been identified in the adult dentate gyrus. For example, exposure to an enriched environment enhances neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus and improves hippocampus-dependent spatial learning. Furthermore, serotonin is known to influence adult neurogenesis, and learning and memory. However, the effects of long-lasting depletion of serotonin over the developing period on neurogenesis have not been investigated. Thus, we examined the influence of long-lasting serotonin depletion on environmental enrichment-induced neurogenesis and spatial memory performance. As reported previously, environmental enrichment significantly increased new neurons in the dentate gyrus. However, there was no improvement of the spatial learning test in adult rats in standard and in environmental enrichment housings. Intracisternal administration of the serotonergic neurotoxin, 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine, on postnatal day 3 apparently reduced serotonin content in the adult hippocampus without regeneration. This experimental depletion of serotonin in the hippocampus of rats housed in an enriched environment had no effect on spatial memory performance, but produced significant decreases in the number of bromodeoxyuridine-labeled new cells in the dentate gyrus. These findings indicate that newly generated cells stimulated by environmental enrichment are not critical for improvements in hippocampus-dependent learning. Furthermore, numbers of bromodeoxyuridine-labeled cells in the dentate gyrus of 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine-injected rats did not differ between 1 day and 4 weeks after bromodeoxyuridine injection. These data suggest that survival of newly generated dentate gyrus cells remains relatively constant under long-lasting serotonin depletion.

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