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FASEB J. 2010 Jul;24(7):2355-63. doi: 10.1096/fj.09-151456. Epub 2010 Mar 9.

Learning-dependent neurogenesis in the olfactory bulb determines long-term olfactory memory.

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Université Lyon1, Université de Lyon, F-69007 Lyon, France.


Inhibitory interneurons of the olfactory bulb are subjected to permanent adult neurogenesis. Their number is modulated by learning, suggesting that they could play a role in plastic changes of the bulbar network associated with olfactory memory. Adult male C57BL/6 mice were trained in an associative olfactory task, and we analyzed long-term retention of the task 5, 30, and 90 d post-training. In parallel, we assessed the fate of these newborn cells, mapped their distribution in the olfactory bulb and measured their functional implication using the immediate early gene Zif268. In a second set of experiments, we pharmacologically modulated glutamatergic transmission and using the same behavioral task assessed the consequences on memory retention and neurogenesis. Finally, by local infusion of an antimitotic drug, we selectively blocked neurogenesis during acquisition of the task and looked at the effects on memory retention. First we demonstrated that retrieval of an associative olfactory task recruits the newborn neurons in odor-specific areas of the olfactory bulb selected to survive during acquisition of the task and that it does this in a manner that depends on the strength of learning. We then demonstrated that acquisition is not dependent on neurogenesis if long-term retention of the task is abolished by blocking neurogenesis. Adult-born neurons are thus involved in changes in the neural representation of an odor; this underlies long-term olfactory memory as the strength of learning is linked to the duration of this memory. Neurogenesis thus plays a crucial role in long-term olfactory memory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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