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Neuroscience. 2010 Nov 24;171(1):153-61. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2010.08.062. Epub 2010 Sep 17.

Adult neurogenesis is reduced in the dorsal hippocampus of rats displaying learned helplessness behavior.

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Division of Mental Health and Addiction Medicine, Institute of Population Health Sciences, Taiwan, Republic of China.


Clinical and preclinical studies suggest that the hippocampus has a role in the pathophysiology of major depression. In the learned helplessness (LH) animal model of depression after inescapable shocks (ISs) animals that display LH behavior have reduced cell proliferation in the hippocampus; this effect can be reversed by antidepressant treatment. Using this model, we compared rats that displayed LH behavior and rats that did not show LH behavior (NoLH) after ISs to determine whether reduced hippocampal cell proliferation is associated with the manifestation of LH behavior or is a general response to stress. Specifically, we examined cell proliferation, neurogenesis, and synaptic function in dorsal and ventral hippocampus of LH and NoLH animals and control rats that were not shocked. The LH rats had showed reduced cell proliferation, neurogenesis, and synaptic transmission in the dorsal hippocampus, whereas no changes were seen in the ventral hippocampus. These changes were not observed in the NoLH animals. In a group of NoLH rats that received the same amount of electrical shock as the LH rats to control for the unequal shocks received in these two groups, we observed changes in Ki-67(+) cells associated with acute stress. We conclude that reduced hippocampal cell proliferation and neurogenesis are associated with the manifestation of LH behavior and that the dorsal hippocampus is the most affected area.

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