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New Neurons Needed to Maintain Smell Circuits

Tracy Hampton, PhD
JAMA. 2014;312(20):2082. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.15133.
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Scientists have previously described the continuous generation of newborn neurons in restricted regions of the adult mammalian brain, a process referred to as adult neurogenesis. Investigators at the National Institutes of Health have provided more details on the functional importance of adult neurogenesis, showing that the mouse olfactory system requires a constant supply of adult-born neurons from the subventricular zone deep within the brain to structurally stabilize mature neural circuits within the olfactory bulb that are critical for sensing odors (Cummings DM et al. J Neurosci. 2014;34[41]:13801-13810). The study also found that these newborn neurons restore olfactory bulb neural circuits that have been disrupted by sensory deprivation.

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Adult-born neurons recover and maintain neural circuits in the olfactory bulb (upper right structure above).

Courtesy of the Belluscio Lab, NINDS

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