Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel form of experience-dependent plasticity in the adult brain revealed

06.02.2015

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.

Contact:
Dr. Matteo Bergami
CECAD Excellence Cluster at the University of Cologne
Telephone +49 221 478-84250
matteo.bergami@uk-koeln.de

Astrid Bergmeister MBA
Head CECAD PR & Marketing
Telephone + 49 (0) 221-478 84043
astrid.bergmeister@uk-koeln.de

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.cecad.uni-koeln.de

Astrid Bergmeister | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>