Transformation of cortical and hippocampal neural circuit by environmental enrichment

Neuroscience. 2014 Nov 7;280:282-98. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2014.09.031. Epub 2014 Sep 19.


It has been half a century since brain volume enlargement was first reported in animals reared in an enriched environment (EE). As EE animals show improved memory task performance, exposure to EE has been a useful model system for studying the effects of experience on brain plasticity. We review EE-induced neural changes in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus focusing mainly on works published in the recent decade. The review is organized in three large domains of changes: anatomical, electrophysiological, and molecular changes. Finally, we discuss open issues and future outlook toward better understanding of EE-induced neural changes.

Keywords: cerebral cortex; gamma oscillations; glia; hippocampus; neuropil; spines.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Environment*
  • Hippocampus / anatomy & histology
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Housing, Animal
  • Humans
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated / physiology*


  • KCNV1 protein, human
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated