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J Neurosci. 2007 Oct 3;27(40):10906-11.

Distinct modes of neuron addition in adult mouse neurogenesis.

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Institute for Stem Cell Research, Gesellschaft für Strahlenforschung-National Research Institute for Environment and Health, 85764 Neuherberg/Munich, Germany.


Adult neurogenesis is restricted to two distinct areas of the mammalian brain: the olfactory bulb (OB) and the dentate gyrus (DG). Despite its spatial restriction, adult neurogenesis is of crucial importance for sensory processing and learning and memory. Although it has been shown that tens of thousands of new neurons arrive in the OB and DG every day with about half of them surviving after integration, the total contribution of adult neurogenesis to the pre-existing network remains mostly unknown. This is because of previous approaches labeling only a small proportion of adult-generated neurons. Here, we used genetic fate mapping to follow the majority of adult-generated neurons over long periods. Our data demonstrate two distinct modes of neuron addition to the pre-existing network. In the glomerular layer of the OB, there is a constant net addition of adult-generated neurons reaching a third of the total neuronal population within 9 months. In contrast, adult neurogenesis contributes to only a minor fraction of the entire neuronal network in the granular cell layer of the OB and the DG. Although the fraction of adult generated neurons can be further increased by an enriched environment, it still remains a minority of the neuronal network in the DG. Thus, neuron addition is distinct and tightly regulated in the neuronal networks that incorporate new neurons life long.

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