Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Context-dependent plasticity of adult-born neurons regulated by cortical feedback

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Science Advances  16 Oct 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 42, eabc8319
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc8319

Abstract

In a complex and dynamic environment, the brain flexibly adjusts its circuits to preferentially process behaviorally relevant information. Here, we investigated how the olfactory bulb copes with this demand by examining the plasticity of adult-born granule cells (abGCs). We found that learning of olfactory discrimination elevates odor responses of young abGCs and increases their apical dendritic spines. This plasticity did not occur in abGCs during passive odor experience nor in resident granule cells (rGCs) during learning. Furthermore, we found that feedback projections from the piriform cortex show elevated activity during learning, and activating piriform feedback elicited stronger excitatory postsynaptic currents in abGCs than rGCs. Inactivation of piriform feedback blocked abGC plasticity during learning, and activation of piriform feedback during passive experience induced learning-like plasticity of abGCs. Our work describes a neural circuit mechanism that uses adult neurogenesis to update a sensory circuit to flexibly adapt to new behavioral demands.

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