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A Functional Role for Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Spatial Pattern Separation

Science  10 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5937, pp. 210-213
DOI: 10.1126/science.1173215

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Abstract

The dentate gyrus (DG) of the mammalian hippocampus is hypothesized to mediate pattern separation—the formation of distinct and orthogonal representations of mnemonic information—and also undergoes neurogenesis throughout life. How neurogenesis contributes to hippocampal function is largely unknown. Using adult mice in which hippocampal neurogenesis was ablated, we found specific impairments in spatial discrimination with two behavioral assays: (i) a spatial navigation radial arm maze task and (ii) a spatial, but non-navigable, task in the mouse touch screen. Mice with ablated neurogenesis were impaired when stimuli were presented with little spatial separation, but not when stimuli were more widely separated in space. Thus, newborn neurons may be necessary for normal pattern separation function in the DG of adult mice.

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