Scientists watch activity of newborn brain cells in mice; reveal they are required for memory

Granule cells of the mouse dentate gyrus. Newborn cells are labeled in red, shown here integrating into mature granule cells’ existing cellular circuitry. Today’s study reveals the critical importance of these newborn cells in memory encoding. Credit: Nathan Danielson Columbia neuroscientists have described the activity of newly generated brain cells in awake mice—a process known as adult neurogenesis—and revealed the critical role these cells play in forming memories. The new research also offers clues as to what happens when the memory-encoding process goes awry. This study, led by researchers at Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC), was published today in Neuron. “Our approach allows us to compare the activity of newborn and mature cells in the brains of behaving animals,” said Attila…


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