Potential role for adult neurogenesis in the encoding of time in new memories.

Laboratory of Genetics, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, 10010 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.
Nature Neuroscience (Impact Factor: 14.98). 07/2006; 9(6):723-7. DOI: 10.1038/nn1707
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The dentate gyrus in the hippocampus is one of two brain regions with lifelong neurogenesis in mammals. Despite an increasing amount of information about the characteristics of the newborn granule cells, the specific contribution of their robust generation to memory formation by the hippocampus remains unclear. We describe here a possible role that this population of young granule cells may have in the formation of temporal associations in memory. Neurogenesis is a continuous process; the newborn population is only composed of the same cells for a short period of time. As time passes, the young neurons mature or die and others are born, gradually changing the identity of this young population. We discuss the possibility that one cognitive impact of this gradually changing population on hippocampal memory formation is the formation of the temporal clusters of long-term episodic memories seen in some human psychological studies.

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