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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2006 Mar;7(3):179-93.

Adult neurogenesis and functional plasticity in neuronal circuits.

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Laboratory of Perception and Memory, Institut Pasteur, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Unit de Recherche AssociƩe 2182, 25, rue du Docteur Roux, 75724 Paris cedex 15, France.


The adult brain is a plastic place. To ensure that the mature nervous system's control of behaviour is flexible in the face of a varying environment, morphological and physiological changes are possible at many levels, including that of the entire cell. In two areas of the adult brain - the olfactory bulb and the dentate gyrus - new neurons are generated throughout life and form an integral part of the normal functional circuitry. This process is not fixed, but highly modulated, revealing a plastic mechanism by which the brain's performance can be optimized for a given environment. The functional benefits of this whole-cell plasticity, however, remain a matter for debate.

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