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Neuropharmacology. 2012 Sep;63(3):374-84. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2012.04.022. Epub 2012 Apr 28.

Differential environmental regulation of neurogenesis along the septo-temporal axis of the hippocampus.

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U 930, Inserm, Tours F-37200, France.


The hippocampus is involved in both cognitive and emotional processing; these different functions are topographically distributed along its septo-temporal axis, the dorsal (septal) hippocampus being preferentially involved in cognitive processes such as learning and memory while the ventral (temporal) hippocampus participates in emotional regulation and anxiety-related behaviors. Newborn hippocampal neurons become functionally integrated into hippocampal networks and are likely to contribute to hippocampal functions, but whether their regulation and function are homogenous throughout this axis is not clear. Here we investigate changes in cell proliferation and neurogenesis along the septo-temporal axis of the hippocampus induced by the Unpredictable Chronic Mild Stress model of depression (UCMS), chronic fluoxetine treatment and enriched environment. Mice were either subjected to UCMS, standard housing or enriched environment. Stress-exposed mice were treated daily with fluoxetine (10 mg/kg) or vehicle. Effects of UCMS regimen, fluoxetine treatment and enrichment were assessed by physical measures and behavioral testing. Quantitative changes in cell proliferation and neurogenesis were assessed by immunohistochemistry using BrdU labeling. Results indicate that UCMS decreased cell proliferation and neurogenesis preferentially in the ventral hippocampus, an effect that was reversed by fluoxetine treatment. Environmental enrichment on the other hand increased cell proliferation in both divisions but promoted neurogenesis only in the dorsal hippocampus. These results indicate that environmental factors can differentially regulate neurogenesis in a region-specific manner. This may possibly underlie heterogeneous function of newborn neurons along the septo-temporal axis of the hippocampus and have functional significance as to their implication in stress related disorders and memory processes.

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