A model of hippocampal neurogenesis in memory and mood disorders
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The mounting evidence for neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus has fundamentally challenged the traditional view of brain development. The intense search for clues as to the functional significance of the new neurons has uncovered a surprising connection between neurogenesis and depression. In animal models of depression, neurogenesis is reduced, whereas many treatments for depression promote neurogenesis. We speculate on why the hippocampus, traditionally viewed as a memory structure, might be involved in mood disorders, and what specific role the new neurons might have in the pathogenesis of and recovery from depression. The proposed role of neurogenesis in contextual-memory formation predicts a specific pattern of cognitive deficits in depression and has important implications for treatment of this highly prevalent and debilitating disorder.
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