Neurogenesis-mediated forgetting minimizes proactive interference

Nat Commun. 2016 Feb 26;7:10838. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10838.


Established memories may interfere with the encoding of new memories, particularly when existing and new memories overlap in content. By manipulating levels of hippocampal neurogenesis, here we show that neurogenesis regulates this form of proactive interference. Increasing hippocampal neurogenesis weakens existing memories and, in doing so, facilitates the encoding of new, conflicting (but not non-conflicting) information in mice. Conversely, decreasing neurogenesis stabilizes existing memories, and impedes the encoding of new, conflicting information. These results suggest that reduced proactive interference is an adaptive benefit of neurogenesis-induced forgetting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Association Learning
  • Cell Count
  • Dentate Gyrus / cytology*
  • Discrimination Learning
  • Habituation, Psychophysiologic
  • Maze Learning / physiology*
  • Memory / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nestin
  • Neurogenesis / physiology*
  • Neurons
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology*
  • Reversal Learning / physiology*


  • Nes protein, mouse
  • Nestin