Research Topic

Let us make up our minds on the role of hippocampal neurogenesis in memory. Is neurogenesis doing a little of everything or is it specialized for a particular task?

  • Submission closed.

About this Research Topic

Over 12 years ago we posed a question on our lab website www.newneuron.com asking what are the functions of new cells in adult hippocampus? Still most recent articles on the functional role of adult neurogenesis begin with a statement saying that the functional role of new neurons remains unknown. Hundreds of ...

Over 12 years ago we posed a question on our lab website www.newneuron.com asking what are the functions of new cells in adult hippocampus? Still most recent articles on the functional role of adult neurogenesis begin with a statement saying that the functional role of new neurons remains unknown. Hundreds of studies have come and gone, each claiming one or another role for new neurons, and yet there is no consensus. An extensive, and still rapidly growing, catalogue of such findings reflects continuing confusion in the field with no sign of resolution.

One seemingly logical approach to the above question is to consider only those learning tasks that have already been shown to be hippocampus-dependent, but this is a trap since for example the prototypical hippocampal spatial water maze task generated variable, inconsistent results. Another, more refined, approach is to consider only the Dentate Gyrus-dependent tasks but this can be deceptive since its predominantly mature granule neurons, may be concerned with entirely different matters than the new neurons generated in adulthood. A common explanation for a variety of behavioural effects seen after deletion or inactivation of the young neurons has been the variability of the methods and differences among species. An unwritten opinion expressed among the insiders in the field is that neurogenesis is important in any task that is “difficult”, leaving the easy stuff to the mature neurons but, the nature of this “difficulty” remains unknown. A recent example by Winocur et al., (2012, Behav. Brain Res. 227, p. 464) has shown that a visual discrimination learning task was disrupted by depletion of neurogenesis when the acquisition and recall phases were interrupted by an interfering activity, making the recall more difficult. This suggests that the previous studies may have used too large a yard stick to measure the role of new neurons and that more refined approaches are needed. Thus, in this Research Topic forum we welcome new approaches, new ways of thinking and novel techniques to approach the fundamental question of how neurogenesis participates in learning and memory. Some of the issues to consider are:

- Are lesions or cell deletions a valid way to test for functions?
- Can optogenetic techniques be of help?
- Are we misled by results from inbred laboratory species that may have little value in probing for real adaptive functions?
- Are we misled by thinking in terms of hypothetical concepts such as pattern separation?
- Is there a critical period for functional neurogenesis?
- Is context a critical component encoded by new neurons?
- How is memory interference dependent on new neurons?
- Can computational data-based models help in guiding the studies?
- Are the existing cell birthing techniques out of date?


Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

Recent Articles

Loading..

About Frontiers Research Topics

With their unique mixes of varied contributions from Original Research to Review Articles, Research Topics unify the most influential researchers, the latest key findings and historical advances in a hot research area! Find out more on how to host your own Frontiers Research Topic or contribute to one as an author.

Topic Editors

Loading..

Submission Deadlines

Submission closed.

Participating Journals

Loading..

Topic Editors

Loading..

Submission Deadlines

Submission closed.

Participating Journals

Loading..
Loading..

total views article views article downloads topic views

}
 
Top countries
Top referring sites
Loading..

Comments

Loading..

Add a comment

Add comment
Back to top