Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis in Different Taxonomic Groups: Possible Functional Similarities and Striking Controversies
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractAdult neurogenesis occurs in many species, from fish to mammals, with an apparent reduction in the number of both neurogenic zones and new neurons inserted into established circuits with increasing brain complexity. Although the absolute number of new neurons is high in some species, the ratio of these cells to those already existing in the circuit is low. Continuous replacement/addition plays a role in spatial navigation (migration) and other cognitive processes in birds and rodents, but none of the literature relates adult neurogenesis to spatial navigation and memory in primates and humans. Some models developed by computational neuroscience attribute a high weight to hippocampal adult neurogenesis in learning and memory processes, with greater relevance to pattern separation. In contrast to theories involving neurogenesis in cognitive processes, absence/rarity of neurogenesis in the hippocampus of primates and adult humans was recently suggested and is under intense debate. Although the learning process is supported by plasticity, the retention of memories requires a certain degree of consolidated circuitry structures, otherwise the consolidation process would be hampered. Here, we compare and discuss hippocampal adult neurogenesis in different species and the inherent paradoxical aspects.