Neurogenesis and Pattern Integration

Science Signaling  13 Mar 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 215, pp. ec79
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003029

The adult hippocampus continuously produces new neurons that integrate into the dentate gyrus network and contribute to information processing. What features of adult-born neurons are important for information processing in the dentate gyrus? Marín-Burgin et al. (see the Perspective by Kempermann) labeled newborn neurons and used sophisticated electrophysiological and imaging techniques to show that immature neurons integrated a broader variety of synaptic inputs from different origins compared with mature neurons, which were highly input specific. Thus, immature neurons may represent a population of integrators that are broadly tuned during a transient period and may encode most features of incoming information. After maturation, new granule cells display a high activation threshold and input specificity to become good pattern separators.

A. Marín-Burgin, L. A. Mongiat, M. Belén Pardi, A. F. Schinder, Unique processing during a period of high excitation/inhibition balance in adult-born neurons. Science 335, 1238–1242 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]

G. Kempermann, Youth culture in the adult brain. Science 335, 1175–1176 (2012). [Abstract] [Full Text]