A list of experiments that relate adult hippocampal neurogenesis to behaviorJason Snyder | 01/06/2010
I’ve always enjoyed making lists. As a kid I can remember writing lists of rhyming words, lists of all the Ocean Pacific clothes I owned, lists of all the people I knew. Many years later, I hope I’ve now made a list that is actually useful.
Adult neurogenesis is now undisputed. Pretty much on a weekly basis there is a new paper that examines both levels of adult hippocampal neurogenesis and behavior, attempting to draw a functional connection. The good news is that the argument for a behavioral function for adult neurogenesis continues to get stronger. The bad news is that there’s a massive pileup of data, and it’s becoming hard to filter through the relevant studies – first you have to find them amongst the 1000+ studies of adult neurogenesis. Then you have to read them. What behaviors are examined? Is there an effect of reducing or enhancing neurogenesis? What method is used to manipulate neurogenesis? What do other studies find that performed a similar analysis?
In this spreadsheet I’ve tried to provide summary answers to these questions. The data can be sorted by the type of behavior examined (e.g. depressive behaviors, memory etc), how neurogenesis was manipulated (e.g. via irradiation, transgenic tools or exogenous factors like anti-mitotic drugs), and behavioral effect.
It should be noted that I essentially took authors’ claims at face value and nothing here should be blindly accepted as evidence for or against a behavioral function for neurogenesis – read the papers! Task, neuronal age, and other methods should all be considered. Also, at this time, I have only entered data for a fraction of the studies, namely those that have claimed to use a technique specific for reducing neurogenesis. In reality, no such technique exists and I’d like to enter the same data for all studies that correlate neurogenesis with behavior, even those that have manipulated neurogenesis using methods that have widespread effects in the nervous system (e.g. exercise, enriched environment).