Exposure to an enriched environment increases neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus of adult rodents. Environmental enrichment, however, typically consists of many components, such as expanded learning opportunities, increased social interaction, more physical activity and larger housing. We attempted to separate components by assigning adult mice to various conditions: water-maze learning (learner), swim-time-yoked control (swimmer), voluntary wheel running (runner), and enriched (enriched) and standard housing (control) groups. Neither maze training nor yoked swimming had any effect on bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-positive cell number. However, running doubled the number of surviving newborn cells, in amounts similar to enrichment conditions. Our findings demonstrate that voluntary exercise is sufficient for enhanced neurogenesis in the adult mouse dentate gyrus.
Martínez-Canabal, A. (2015). Rewiring, forgetting and learning. Commentary: A critical period for experience-dependent remodeling of adult-born neuron connectivity. Frontiers in Neuroscience. Frontiers Research Foundation. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2015.00298