Short-term environmental enrichment exposure induces maturity of newborn neurons
Many studies have shown that exposure to environmental enrichment can induce neurogenesis of the hippocampal region, thus improving learning and memory.
Previous studies have demonstrated that doublecortin-positive immature neurons exist predominantly in the superficial layer of the cerebral cortex of adult mammals such as guinea pigs, and these neurons exhibit very weak properties of self-proliferation during adulthood under physiological conditions.
Whether environmental enrichment has an impact on the proliferation and maturation of these immature neurons in the prefrontal cortex of adult guinea pigs needs further studies.
Dr. Chunling Fan and co-workers from Central South University School of Basic Medical Sciences in China observed healthy adult guinea pigs subjected to short-term environmental enrichment. They found that short-term environmental enrichment can induce proliferation, activation and maturation of doublecortin-positive cells in layer II of the prefrontal cortex of adult guinea pigs.
These alterations may be involved in learning and memory associated with the prefrontal cortex. The relevant study has been published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 9, No. 3, 2014).
Images immunostained with doublecortin (green) and DAPI (blue) show the expression of c-Fos/doublecortin double-positive cells in layer II of the medial prefrontal cortex of guinea pigs 20 days post-environmental enrichment.
Scale bar = 50 μm.
Credit: Neural Regeneration Research