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Hippocampus. 2012 Feb;22(2):292-8. doi: 10.1002/hipo.20895. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

Adult-born neurons are necessary for extended contextual discrimination.

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Inserm U862, Bordeaux-F33077, France.


New neurons are continuously produced in the adult dentate gyrus of the hippocampus. It has been shown that one of the functions of adult neurogenesis is to support spatial pattern separation, a process that transforms similar memories into nonoverlapping representations. This prompted us to investigate whether adult-born neurons are required for discriminating two contexts, i.e., for identifying a familiar environment and detect any changes introduced in it. We show that depleting adult-born neurons impairs the animal's ability to disambiguate two contexts after extensive training. These data suggest that the continuous production of new dentate neurons plays a crucial role in extracting and separating efficiently contextual representation in order to discriminate features within events.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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