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JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Molecular mechanisms of experience-dependent structural and functional plasticity in the brain

Makoto Kondo
Anatomical Science International 2017, 92 (1): 1-17
27484433
Experiences and environments have a variety of effects on brain plasticity at levels ranging from the molecular and cellular to the behavioral. Brain plasticity is one of the most important characteristics of animal survival. In particular, environmental enrichment and exercise induce many structural and functional changes in the brain, and it is noteworthy that these changes result in further beneficial effects at behavioral levels, such as improved learning behavior and antidepressant effects. The effects of enrichment and exercise, and the mechanisms involved in both, provide crucial evidence for the prevention and treatment of brain disorders. However, the enriched environment- and exercise-induced mechanisms underlying the structural and behavioral effects in the brain remain poorly understood. In this review I discuss the molecular mechanisms of environment- and experience-dependent brain plasticity based on the results of studies carried out by our research group at the Department of Neuroscience and Cell Biology, Osaka University. This review consists of three parts: first, a description of a role for the motor protein KIF1A in enhanced synaptogenesis and memory function induced by environmental enrichment; second, a discussion of the function of the 5-HT3 receptor in hippocampal neurogenesis and behavioral changes induced by exercise; third, a discussion of the role of the 5-HT3 receptor in fear extinction.

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