Adult neurogenesis conserves hippocampal memory capacity

Md Jahangir Alam, Takashi Kitamura, Yoshito Saitoh, Noriaki Ohkawa, Takashi Kondo, Kaoru Inokuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The hippocampus is crucial for declarative memories in humans and encodes episodic and spatial memories in animals. Memory coding strengthens synaptic efficacy via an LTP-like mechanism. Given that animals store memories of everyday experiences, the hippocampal circuit must have a mechanism that prevents saturation of overall synaptic weight for the preservation of learning capacity. LTD works to balance plasticity and prevent saturation. In addition, adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus is proposed to be involved in the downscaling of synaptic efficacy. Here, we show that adult neurogenesis in male rats plays a crucial role in the maintenance of hippocampal capacity for memory (learning and/or memory formation). Neurogenesis regulated the maintenance of LTP, with decreases and increases in neurogenesis prolonging or shortening LTP persistence, respectively. Artificial saturation of hippocampal LTP impaired memory capacity in contextual fear conditioning, which completely recovered after 14 d, which was the time required for LTP to decay to the basal level. Memory capacity gradually recovered in parallel with neurogenesis-mediated gradual decay of LTP. Ablation of neurogenesis by x-ray irradiation delayed the recovery of memory capacity, whereas enhancement of neurogenesis using a running wheel sped up recovery. Therefore, one benefit of ongoing adult neurogenesis is the maintenance of hippocampal memory capacity through homeostatic renewing of hippocampal memory circuits. Decreased neurogenesis in aged animals may be responsible for the decline in cognitive function with age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6854-6863
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number31
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Adult neurogenesis
  • Hippocampus
  • Learning and memory
  • Memory capacity
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Adult neurogenesis conserves hippocampal memory capacity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this