Enhanced synaptic integration of adult-born neurons in the olfactory bulb of lactating mothers.
ABSTRACT One of the most dramatic events during the life of adult mammals is the transition into motherhood. This transition is accompanied by specific maternal behaviors, displayed by the mother, that ensure the survival and the well-being of her offspring. The execution of these behaviors is most likely accompanied by plastic changes in specific neuronal circuits, but these are still poorly defined. In this work, we studied the mammalian olfactory bulb (OB), which has been shown to be an essential brain region for maternal behaviors in mice. In the OB, we focused on adult-born neurons, which are continuously incorporated into the circuit during adulthood, thus providing a potential substrate for heightened plasticity after parturition. We analyzed the dynamics and morphological characteristics of adult-born granule cells (abGCs), innervating the OB of primiparous lactating mothers, shortly after parturition as well as in naive females. In vivo time-lapse imaging of abGCs revealed that dendritic spines were significantly more stable in lactating mothers compared with naive virgins. In contrast, spine stability of resident GCs remained unchanged after parturition. In addition, while spine size distribution of abGCs was approximately similar between mothers and naive virgins, the spine density of abGCs was lower in lactating mothers and the density of their presynaptic components was higher. These structural features are indicative of enhanced integration of adult-born neurons into the bulbar circuitry of lactating mothers. This enhanced integration may serve as a cellular mechanism, supporting changes in olfactory coding of new mothers during their first days following parturition.
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ABSTRACT: New neurons are continuously added in the dentate gyrus (DG) and the olfactory bulb of mammalian brain. While numerous environmental factors controlling survival of newborn neurons have been extensively studied, regulation by social interactions is less documented. We addressed this question by investigating the influence of parturition and interactions with the young on neurogenesis in sheep mothers. Using Bromodeoxyuridine, a marker of cell division, in combination with markers of neuronal maturation, the percentage of neuroblasts and new mature neurons in the olfactory bulb and the DG was compared between groups of parturient ewes which could interact or not with their lamb, and virgins. In addition, a morphological analysis was performed by measuring the dendritic arbor of neuroblasts in both structures. We showed that the postpartum period was associated with a decrease in olfactory and hippocampal adult neurogenesis. In the olfactory bulb, the suppressive effect on neuroblasts was dependent on interactions with the young whereas in the DG the decrease in new mature neurons was associated with parturition. In addition, dendritic length and number of nodes of neuroblasts were significantly enhanced by interactions with the lamb in the olfactory bulb but not in the DG. Because interactions with the young involved learning of the olfactory signature of the lamb, we hypothesize that this learning is associated with a down-regulation in olfactory neurogenesis and an enhancement of olfactory neuroblast maturation. Our assumption is that fewer new neurons decrease cell competition in the olfactory bulb and enhance maturation of those new neurons selected to participate in the learning of the young odor.Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience 01/2014; 8:53. · 4.76 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The time of pregnancy, birth, and lactation, is characterized by numerous specific alterations in several systems of the maternal body. Peripartum-associated changes in physiology and behavior, as well as their underlying molecular mechanisms, have been the focus of research since decades, but are still far from being entirely understood. Also, there is growing evidence that pregnancy and lactation are associated with a variety of alterations in neural plasticity, including adult neurogenesis, functional and structural synaptic plasticity, and dendritic remodeling in different brain regions. All of the mentioned changes are not only believed to be a prerequisite for the proper fetal and neonatal development, but moreover to be crucial for the physiological and mental health of the mother. The underlying mechanisms apparently need to be under tight control, since in cases of dysregulation, a certain percentage of women develop disorders like preeclampsia or postpartum mood and anxiety disorders during the course of pregnancy and lactation. This review describes common peripartum adaptations in physiology and behavior. Moreover, it concentrates on different forms of peripartum-associated plasticity including changes in neurogenesis and their possible underlying molecular mechanisms. Finally, consequences of malfunction in those systems are discussed.Neural Plasticity 01/2014; 2014:574159. · 2.86 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The olfactory bulb (OB) is the first central processing center for olfactory information connecting with higher areas in the brain, and this neuronal circuitry mediates a variety of odor-evoked behavioral responses. In the adult mammalian brain, continuous neurogenesis occurs in two restricted regions, the subventricular zone (SVZ) of the lateral ventricle and the hippocampal dentate gyrus. New neurons born in the SVZ migrate through the rostral migratory stream and are integrated into the neuronal circuits of the OB throughout life. The significance of this continuous supply of new neurons in the OB has been implicated in plasticity and memory regulation. Two decades of huge investigation in adult neurogenesis revealed the biological importance of integration of new neurons into the olfactory circuits. In this review, we highlight the recent findings about the physiological functions of newly generated neurons in rodent OB circuits and then discuss the contribution of neurogenesis in the brain function. Finally, we introduce cutting edge technologies to monitor and manipulate the activity of new neurons.Frontiers in neuroscience. 01/2014; 8:121.