Aim of the work. Although evidence suggest that neurogenesis play a role in spatial learning, the effect of learning on cell proliferation remains unclear. The authors generated and tested the hypothesis that different phases of spatial learning measured in the Morris water maze have distinct actions on cell proliferation. In this task, two phases of learning can be distinguished: an early phase during which performance improves rapidly, and a late phase during which asymptotic levels of performance are reached. These two phases seem to involve different brain processes and consequently may differentially influence neurogenesis.
Results. The authors demonstrated that the late phase of learning has a multifaceted effect on neurogenesis depending on the birth date of new neurons. The number of newly born cells increased contingently with the late phase and a large proportion of these cells survived for at least 4 weeks and differentiated into neurons. In contrast, the late phase learning decreased the number of newly born cells produced during the early phase. This learning-induced decrease in the number of newly
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