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PLoS One. 2013 May 1;8(5):e62701. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062701. Print 2013.

Bi-parental care contributes to sexually dimorphic neural cell genesis in the adult mammalian brain.

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Department of Cell Biology & Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Hotchkiss Brain Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.


Early life events can modulate brain development to produce persistent physiological and behavioural phenotypes that are transmissible across generations. However, whether neural precursor cells are altered by early life events, to produce persistent and transmissible behavioural changes, is unknown. Here, we show that bi-parental care, in early life, increases neural cell genesis in the adult rodent brain in a sexually dimorphic manner. Bi-parentally raised male mice display enhanced adult dentate gyrus neurogenesis, which improves hippocampal neurogenesis-dependent learning and memory. Female mice display enhanced adult white matter oligodendrocyte production, which increases proficiency in bilateral motor coordination and preference for social investigation. Surprisingly, single parent-raised male and female offspring, whose fathers and mothers received bi-parental care, respectively, display a similar enhancement in adult neural cell genesis and phenotypic behaviour. Therefore, neural plasticity and behavioural effects due to bi-parental care persist throughout life and are transmitted to the next generation.

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