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Dev Neurobiol. 2012 Jul;72(7):1032-43. doi: 10.1002/dneu.22014.

Modification of hippocampal circuitry by adult neurogenesis.

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Institute for Cell Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


The adult hippocampus is one of the primary neural structures involved in memory formation. In addition to synapse-specific modifications thought to encode information at the subcellular level, changes in the intrahippocampal neuro-populational activity and dynamics at the circuit-level may contribute substantively to the functional capacity of this region. Within the hippocampus, the dentate gyrus has the potential to make a preferential contribution to neural circuit modification owing to the continuous addition of new granule cell population. The integration of newborn neurons into pre-existing circuitry is hypothesized to deliver a unique processing capacity, as opposed to merely replacing dying granule cells. Recent studies have begun to assess the impact of hippocampal neurogenesis by examining the extent to which adult-born neurons participate in hippocampal networks, including when newborn neurons become engaged in ongoing network activity and how they modulate circuit dynamics via their unique intrinsic physiological properties. Understanding the contributions of adult neurogenesis to hippocampal function will provide new insight into the fundamental aspects of brain plasticity, which can be used to guide therapeutic interventions to replace neural populations damaged by disease or injury.

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