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Pregnancy-Stimulated Neurogenesis in the Adult Female Forebrain Mediated by Prolactin

Science  03 Jan 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5603, pp. 117-120
DOI: 10.1126/science.1076647

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Abstract

Neurogenesis occurs in the olfactory system of the adult brain throughout life, in both invertebrates and vertebrates, but its physiological regulation is not understood. We show that the production of neuronal progenitors is stimulated in the forebrain subventricular zone of female mice during pregnancy and that this effect is mediated by the hormone prolactin. The progenitors then migrate to produce new olfactory interneurons, a process likely to be important for maternal behavior, because olfactory discrimination is critical for recognition and rearing of offspring. Neurogenesis occurs even in females that mate with sterile males. These findings imply that forebrain olfactory neurogenesis may contribute to adaptive behaviors in mating and pregnancy.

  • * Present address: Department of Neurological Surgery, Okayama University Medical School, 2-5-1 Shikata-cho, Okayama 700-8558, Japan.

  • To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: weiss{at}ucalgary.ca

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