In adult mice, neurogenesis increases social confidence by suppressing the activity of mature neurons.
If youngsters told their elders to be quiet, stress levels would surely rise. But, when it comes to brain cells, it seems the opposite is true—silencing of old neurons by young ones appears to make an animal more stress resilient. A report today (June 27) in Nature shows that mice whose production of new hippocampal neurons was ramped up suffered less anxiety in a stressful social situation than their control counterparts, and this was thanks to an increased inhibition of mature hippocampal cells.
“It’s a very elegant paper showing how adult neurogenesis protects against chronic stress,” says neuroscientist Sandrine Thuret of King’s College London in the U.K. who was not involved in the research. It was known that the birth of new neurons in the hippocampus could prevent stress, “but we didn’t really know how,” she explains. “[The authors] show that the new neurons modulate the activity of mature neurons and that this has a behavioral effect."
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