Functional Neurogenesis in the Adult Hippocampus

Nature. 2002 Feb 28;415(6875):1030-4. doi: 10.1038/4151030a.

Abstract

There is extensive evidence indicating that new neurons are generated in the dentate gyrus of the adult mammalian hippocampus, a region of the brain that is important for learning and memory. However, it is not known whether these new neurons become functional, as the methods used to study adult neurogenesis are limited to fixed tissue. We use here a retroviral vector expressing green fluorescent protein that only labels dividing cells, and that can be visualized in live hippocampal slices. We report that newly generated cells in the adult mouse hippocampus have neuronal morphology and can display passive membrane properties, action potentials and functional synaptic inputs similar to those found in mature dentate granule cells. Our findings demonstrate that newly generated cells mature into functional neurons in the adult mammalian brain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Division
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology*
  • Female
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neural Pathways
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Synapses

Substances

  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins