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Adult hippocampal neurogenesis of mammals: evolution and life history


Amrein, I; Lipp, H P (2009). Adult hippocampal neurogenesis of mammals: evolution and life history. Biology Letters, 5(1):141-144.

Abstract

Substantial production of new neurons in the adult mammalian brain is restricted to the olfactory system and the hippocampal formation. Its physiological and behavioural role is still debated. By comparing adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) across many mammalian species, one might recognize a common function. AHN is most prominent in rodents, but shows considerable variability across species, being lowest or missing in primates and bats. The latter finding argues against a critical role of AHN in spatial learning and memory. The common functional denominator across all species investigated thus far is a strong decline of AHN from infancy to midlife. As predicted by Altman and colleagues in 1973, this implies a role in transforming juvenile unpredictable to predictable behaviour, typically characterizing mammalian behaviour once reproductive competence has been attained. However, as only a fraction of mammalian species has been investigated, further comparative studies are necessary in order to recognize whether AHN has a common unique function, or whether it mediates species-specific hippocampal functions.

Abstract

Substantial production of new neurons in the adult mammalian brain is restricted to the olfactory system and the hippocampal formation. Its physiological and behavioural role is still debated. By comparing adult hippocampal neurogenesis (AHN) across many mammalian species, one might recognize a common function. AHN is most prominent in rodents, but shows considerable variability across species, being lowest or missing in primates and bats. The latter finding argues against a critical role of AHN in spatial learning and memory. The common functional denominator across all species investigated thus far is a strong decline of AHN from infancy to midlife. As predicted by Altman and colleagues in 1973, this implies a role in transforming juvenile unpredictable to predictable behaviour, typically characterizing mammalian behaviour once reproductive competence has been attained. However, as only a fraction of mammalian species has been investigated, further comparative studies are necessary in order to recognize whether AHN has a common unique function, or whether it mediates species-specific hippocampal functions.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, further contribution
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Uncontrolled Keywords:adult neurogenesis; evolution; life history; adult development; behaviour; flexibility
Language:English
Date:23 February 2009
Deposited On:13 Jul 2009 15:34
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 15:04
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:1744-9561
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2008.0511
PubMed ID:18957357

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