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Keywords:

  • critical period;
  • hippocampus;
  • immediateearly genes;
  • memory;
  • neurogenesis

Abstract

Adult dentate gyrus produces new neurons continuously throughout life. Multiple lines of evidence have pointed to the possibility that young neurons during a certain maturational stage mediate an important role in memory processing. In this review, we highlight the existing evidence of a ‘critical period’ for new neurons in their involvement in memory formation, describe the unique properties of young neurons as potential mechanisms underlying the critical period, and discuss the implications of the critical period for the function of adult neurogenesis.