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Keywords:

  • hippocampus;
  • dentate gyrus;
  • memory;
  • development;
  • aging

Abstract

Reducing hippocampal neurogenesis sometimes, but not always, disrupts hippocampus-dependent learning and memory. Here, we tested whether animal age, which regulates rate of hippocampal neurogenesis, is a factor that influences whether deficits in spatial learning are observed after reduction of neurogenesis. We found that suppressing the generation of new hippocampal neurons via treatment with temozolomide, an antiproliferation agent, impaired learning the location of a hidden platform in the water maze in juvenile mice (1–2 months old) but not in adult mice (2–3 months old) or middle-aged mice (11–12 months old). These findings suggest that during juvenility, suppression of neurogenesis may alter hippocampal development, whereas during adulthood and aging, pre-existing neurons may compensate for the lack of new hippocampal neurons. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.