Article

When is adult hippocampal neurogenesis necessary for learning? Evidence from animal research

Departamento de Psicobiología y Metodología de las CC, Universidad de Málaga, Campus de Teatinos, E-29071 Málaga, Spain.
Reviews in the neurosciences (Impact Factor: 3.33). 06/2011; 22(3):267-83. DOI: 10.1515/RNS.2011.027
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT

The hippocampus is a key brain structure involved in the short- and long-term processing of declarative memory. Since adult hippocampal neurogenesis was first found, numerous studies have tried to establish the contribution of newborn neurons to hippocampus-dependent cognitive functions. However, this large amount of research has generated contradictory results. In this paper, we review the body of evidence investigating the relationship between hippocampal neurogenesis and learning to conclude the functional role of adult-born hippocampal neurons. First, factors that could explain discrepancies among experiments are taken into account. Then, in addition to methodological differences, we emphasize the importance of the age of the newborn neurons studied, as to how their maturation influences both their properties and potential functionality. Next, we discuss which declarative memory components could require involvement of adult hippocampal neurogenesis, taking into consideration the representational demands of the task, its difficulty and the level of performance reached by the subject. Finally, other factors that could modulate neurogenesis and memory, such as stress levels or previous experience of the animal, should also be taken into consideration in interpreting experiments focused on neurogenesis. In conclusion, our analysis of published studies suggests that new adult-born neurons, under certain circumstances, have a crucial and irreplaceable role in hippocampal learning.

Download full-text

Full-text

Available from: Guillermo Estivill-Torrús, Apr 09, 2015
  • Source
    • "The neurobehavioral measures mainly evaluate several domains assumed to be sensitive to the tumor involvement and the impact of cranial radiation therapy; all tests were administered by a trained clinical research associate under the supervision of a neuropsychologist. Since the delivery of HS-WBRT instead of conventional WBRT aims to diminish the extent of neurotoxic impact on the hippocampus, which is significantly associated with memory functions[9,16,22,30], three main aspects of NCF including memory functions, executive functions, and psychomotor speed are thus evaluated. First, regarding the domain of memory, the selected subtests of the Wechsler Memory Scale-3rd edition (WMS-III) were used to evaluate patients' verbal and non-verbal episodic memory. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Whole brain radiotherapy (WBRT) has been the treatment of choice for patients with brain metastases. However, change/decline of neurocognitive functions (NCFs) resulting from impaired hippocampal neurogenesis might occur after WBRT. It is reported that conformal hippocampal sparing would provide the preservation of NCFs. Our study aims to investigate the hippocampal dosimetry and to demonstrate the correlation between hippocampal dosimetry and neurocognitive outcomes in patients receiving hippocampal sparing during WBRT (HS-WBRT). Forty prospectively recruited cancer patients underwent HS-WBRT for therapeutic or prophylactic purposes. Before receiving HS-WBRT, all participants received a battery of baseline neurocognitive assessment, including memory, executive functions and psychomotor speed. The follow-up neurocognitive assessment at 4 months after HS-WBRT was also performed. For the delivery of HS-WBRT, Volumetric Modulated Arc Therapy (VMAT) with two full arcs and two non-coplanar partial arcs was employed. For each treatment planning, dose volume histograms were generated for left hippocampus, right hippocampus, and the composite hippocampal structure respectively. Biologically equivalent doses in 2-Gy fractions (EQD 2 ) assuming an alpha/beta ratio of 2 Gy were computed. To perform analyses addressing the correlation between hippocampal dosimetry and the change in scores of NCFs, pre- and post-HS-WBRT neurocognitive assessments were available in 24 patients in this study. Scores of NCFs were quite stable before and after HS-WBRT in terms of hippocampus-dependent memory. Regarding verbal memory, the corresponding EQD 2 values of 0, 10, 50, 80 % irradiating the composite hippocampal structure with <12.60 Gy, <8.81, <7.45 Gy and <5.83 Gy respectively were significantly associated with neurocognitive preservation indicated by the immediate recall of Word List Test of Wechsler Memory Scale-III. According to logistic regression analyses, it was noted that dosimetric parameters specific to left sided hippocampus exerted an influence on immediate recall of verbal memory (adjusted odds ratio, 4.08; p-value, 0.042, predicting patients’ neurocognitive decline after receiving HS-WBRT). Functional preservation by hippocampal sparing during WBRT is indeed achieved in our study. Providing that modern VMAT techniques can reduce the dose irradiating bilateral hippocampi below dosimetric threshold, patients should be recruited in prospective trials of hippocampal sparing during cranial irradiation to accomplish neurocognitive preservation while maintaining intracranial control. Trial registration Current Controlled Trials NCT02504788
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015 · Radiation Oncology
  • Source
    • "Moreover, GSK-3β dysregulation is associated with the pathogenesis of many neuropsychiatric disorders, including dementia (Hernandez et al., 2002; Hooper et al., 2008; Giese, 2009). On the other hand, deficits of hippocampal-dependent memory, including contextual fear conditioning , are linked to impaired adult neurogenesis (Deng et al., 2010; Castilla-Ortega et al., 2011; Pan et al., 2012). Valproic acid (VPA) is an effective anti-epileptic drug, which has been also used for many years as a mood-stabilizing agent for treatment of psychiatric disorders. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Valproic acid (VPA), a long-standing anti-epileptic and anti-manic drug, exerts multiple actions in the nervous system through various molecular mechanisms. Neuroprotective properties have been attributed to VPA in different models of neurodegeneration, but contrasting results on its improvement of learning and memory have been reported in non-pathologic conditions. In the present study, we have tested on a hippocampal-dependent learning test, the contextual fear conditioning, the effect of chronic VPA administration through alimentary supplementation that allows relatively steady concentrations to be reached by a drug otherwise very rapidly eliminated in rodents. Contextual fear memory was significantly impaired in rats chronically treated with VPA for 4weeks. To understand the cellular and molecular correlates of this amnesic effect with particular regard to hippocampus, we addressed three putatively memory-related targets of VPA action in this brain area, obtaining the following main results: i) chronic VPA promoted an increase of post-translational modifications of histone H3 (acetylation and phosphorylation) known to favor gene transcription; ii) adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus, which has been controversially reported to be affected by VPA, was unchanged; iii) GSK-3β, a kinase playing a key role in hippocampal plasticity, as well as in learning and memory, was dysregulated by VPA treatment. These results point at GSK-3β dysregulation in the hippocampus as an important parameter in the amnesic effect of VPA. The VPA amnesic effect in the animal model here reported is also supported by some observations in patients and, therefore, it should be taken into account and monitored in VPA-based therapies.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior
  • Source
    • "Cell proliferation and neurogenesis have also recently been described as a necessary component of learning and memory in several taxa (Castilla-Ortega et al., 2011; Nogues et al., 2011). Because the males used in our study had all previously been dominant, and this species can reversibly switch between social states depending on the composition of the social environment, the ascension to dominance also likely involves neuronal circuitry involved in learning and memory, and reward pathways. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: New cells are added in the brains of all adult vertebrates, but fishes have some of the greatest potential for neurogenesis and gliogenesis among all taxa, partly due to their indeterminate growth. Little is known, however, about how social interactions influence cell proliferation in the brain of these fishes that comprise the largest group of vertebrates. We used 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine (BrdU) to identify and localize proliferation zones in the telencephalon, diencephalon, mesencephalon, and rhombencephalon that were primarily associated with ventricular surfaces in the brain of the African cichlid fish Astatotilapia burtoni. Cell migration was evident in some regions by 1 day post injection, and many newborn cells coexpressed the neuronal marker HuC/D at 30 days, suggesting they had differentiated into neurons. To test the hypothesis that social status and perception of an opportunity to rise in rank influenced cell proliferation, we compared numbers of BrdU-labeled cells in multiple brain nuclei among fish of different social status. Socially suppressed subordinate males had the lowest numbers of proliferating cells in all brain regions examined, but males that were given an opportunity to rise in status had higher cell proliferation rates within 1 day, suggesting rapid upregulation of brain mitotic activity associated with this social transition. Furthermore, socially isolated dominant males had similar numbers of BrdU-labeled cells compared with dominant males that were housed in a socially rich environment, suggesting that isolation has little effect on proliferation and that reduced proliferation in subordinates is a result of the social subordination. These results suggest that A. burtoni will be a useful model to analyze the mechanisms of socially induced neurogenesis in vertebrates.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2012 · The Journal of Comparative Neurology
Show more