Adult-born hippocampal neurons are more numerous, faster maturing, and more involved in behavior in rats than in mice.

Unit on Neuroplasticity, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.
Journal of Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 6.91). 11/2009; 29(46):14484-95. DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1768-09.2009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Neurons are born throughout adulthood in the hippocampus and show enhanced plasticity compared with mature neurons. However, there are conflicting reports on whether or not young neurons contribute to performance in behavioral tasks, and there is no clear relationship between the timing of maturation of young neurons and the duration of neurogenesis reduction in studies showing behavioral deficits. We asked whether these discrepancies could reflect differences in the properties of young neurons in mice and rats. We report that young neurons in adult rats show a mature neuronal marker profile and activity-induced immediate early gene expression 1-2 weeks earlier than those in mice. They are also twice as likely to escape cell death, and are 10 times more likely to be recruited into learning circuits. This comparison holds true in two different strains of mice, both of which show high rates of neurogenesis relative to other background strains. Differences in adult neurogenesis are not limited to the hippocampus, as the density of new neocortical neurons was 5 times greater in rats than in mice. Finally, in a test of function, we find that the contribution of young neurons to fear memory is much greater in rats than in mice. These results reveal substantial differences in new neuron plasticity and function between these two commonly studied rodent species.

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    ABSTRACT: Rivastigmine is a non-competitive inhibitor of both acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butylcholinesterase (BuChE) used to treat mild to moderate dementia in Alzheimer's disease (AD) patients. Although rivastigmine reportedly ameliorates cognitive dysfunction in these patients, its ability to improve Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia (BPSD) remains unclear. To determine whether rivastigmine treatment antagonizes depression-like behaviors, we chronically administered rivastigmine (0.1-1.0 mg/kg) to olfactory bulbectomized (OBX) mice once a day for two weeks, starting two weeks after bulbectomy. Chronic treatment at 0.3 or 1.0 mg/kg dose-dependently and significantly improved depression-like behaviors, as assessed by tail suspension (TST), forced swim (FST), locomotion and novelty-suppressed feeding (NSFT) tests. Importantly, co-administration with WAY-100635 (1.0 mg/kg), a 5-HT1A receptor antagonist, but not ketanserin (1.0 mg/kg,), a 5-HT2A receptor antagonist, completely blocked rivastigmine-induced anti-depressive effects, suggesting that 5-HT1A receptor stimulation mediates this activity. Consistent with this observation, rivastigmine treatment significantly rescued impaired neurogenesis observed in OBX mice in a 5-HT1A receptor-dependent manner. Furthermore, enhanced protein kinase B (Akt) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation seen following rivastigmine treatment was closely associated with improved neurogenesis. These effects were blocked by WAY-100635 but not ketanserin treatment. Finally, we confirmed that 5-HT1A but not 5-HT2A receptor stimulation by specific agonists mimicked rivastigmine-induced anti-depression activity and promoted hippocampal neurogenesis. We conclude that, in addition enhancing the cholinergic system, rivastigmine treatment restores normal function of the hippocampal serotonergic system, an activity that likely ameliorates depressive behaviors in AD patients.
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