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PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20678. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020678. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

Diffusion MRI of structural brain plasticity induced by a learning and memory task.

Author information

1
Department of Neurobiology, The George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Activity-induced structural remodeling of dendritic spines and glial cells was recently proposed as an important factor in neuroplasticity and suggested to accompany the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP). Although T1 and diffusion MRI have been used to study structural changes resulting from long-term training, the cellular basis of the findings obtained and their relationship to neuroplasticity are poorly understood.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING:

Here we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine the microstructural manifestations of neuroplasticity in rats that performed a spatial navigation task. We found that DTI can be used to define the selective localization of neuroplasticity induced by different tasks and that this process is age-dependent in cingulate cortex and corpus callosum and age-independent in the dentate gyrus.

CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE:

We relate the observed DTI changes to the structural plasticity that occurs in astrocytes and discuss the potential of MRI for probing structural neuroplasticity and hence indirectly localizing LTP.

PMID:
21701690
PMCID:
PMC3119075
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0020678
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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