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Neuron. 2012 Mar 22;73(6):1195-203. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2012.01.025. Epub 2012 Mar 21.

Learning in the fast lane: new insights into neuroplasticity.

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1
Department of Neurobiology, George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences, Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel.

Abstract

The timescale of structural remodeling that accompanies functional neuroplasticity is largely unknown. Although structural remodeling of human brain tissue is known to occur following long-term (weeks) acquisition of a new skill, little is known as to what happens structurally when the brain needs to adopt new sequences of procedural rules or memorize a cascade of events within minutes or hours. Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), an MRI-based framework, we examined subjects before and after a spatial learning and memory task. Microstructural changes (as reflected by DTI measures) of limbic system structures (hippocampus and parahippocampus) were significant after only 2 hr of training. This observation was also found in a supporting rat study. We conclude that cellular rearrangement of neural tissue can be detected by DTI, and that this modality may allow neuroplasticity to be localized over short timescales.

PMID:
22445346
DOI:
10.1016/j.neuron.2012.01.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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