Research by a team of scientists from Cologne, Munich and Mainz have shown an unprecedented degree of connectivity reorganization in newly-generated hippocampal neurons in response to experience, suggesting their direct contribution to process complex information in the adult brain.
The hippocampus is an anatomical area of the brain classically involved in memory formation and modulation of emotional behavior. This is also one of the very few regions in the adult brain where resident neural stem cells generate new neurons life-long, thus providing the hippocampal circuitry with an almost unique renewal mechanism important for information processing and mood regulation.
In response to experience and voluntary exercise, the amount of new neurons that incorporate into the hippocampus increases. Now, Dr. Matteo Bergami from CECAD Cologne together with scientists from the LMU Munich and the University Medical Center of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz have joined their efforts to investigate whether experience, rather than merely promoting neurogenesis, also modifies the connectivity of new neurons.
The scientists successfully showed that the pattern of connectivity of new neurons, namely the number and types of inputs received by each new neuron, is not prefigured in the adult brain but can be significantly altered in response to complex environmental conditions. In fact, following environmental enrichment (EE) the innervation by both local hippocampal interneurons and long distance projection cortical neurons was substantially increased.
However, while the inhibitory inputs were largely transient, cortical innervation remained elevated even after ending the exposure to EE. These findings reveal that exposure to complex environmental stimuli as well as their deprivation regulates the way new neurons become incorporated into the preexisting circuitry and thus, their engagement into hippocampal-dependent tasks.
These findings significantly contribute to deepen our understanding of how the brain responds to experience, and how external stimuli are translated into stable changes of neuronal connectivity.
Their results will not only help deciphering how complex learning processes modify the brain´s plasticity, but may also create an experimental basis for investigating the maladaptive changes in brain connectivity associated with neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders such as epilepsy, depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress.
The research group’s results represent a crucial step towards realizing the broader vision of CECAD at the University of Cologne, namely to understand the molecular and cellular basis of aging-associated diseases as a mean to develop new effective therapeutic strategies.
Dr. Matteo Bergami
CECAD Excellence Cluster at the University of Cologne
Telephone +49 221 478-84250
Astrid Bergmeister MBA
Head CECAD PR & Marketing
Telephone + 49 (0) 221-478 84043
Astrid Bergmeister | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Newly designed molecule binds nitrogen
23.02.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
Atomic Design by Water
23.02.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH
A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.
In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...
A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.
By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...
Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...
For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.
In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...
Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale
Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...
15.02.2018 | Event News
13.02.2018 | Event News
12.02.2018 | Event News
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine
23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy