Journal of neural transmission (Vienna, Austria : 1996)

Synergistic and additive effects of enriched environment and lithium on the generation of new cells in adult mouse hippocampus.

PMID 24553781


Hippocampal atrophy is reported in several neuropathological disorders. The hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) is a brain region where adult neurogenesis constitutively occurs. There are some reports suggesting the ability of endogenous neurogenesis to initiate neuronal repair in the hippocampus in response to neuropathological conditions, but its capacity to compensate for neuronal loss is limited. Among strategies to enhance adult hippocampal neurogenesis are enriched environment and lithium. This study aimed to assess whether both strategies could interact to potentiate the generation of new cells in the adult DG. Healthy adult male C57BL/6 mice were divided into four treatment groups for 28 days: control, lithium, enriched environment, enriched environment plus lithium. The animals were injected with BrdU (cell proliferation marker) shortly before the start of the treatments and killed 28 days later for analysis of newly generated cells. Two-way ANOVA followed by post hoc test revealed a significant synergistic interaction between enriched environment and lithium in the total number of BrdU(+) cells in the entire DG (p = 0.019), a trend towards significant synergistic interaction in the dorsal DG (p = 0.075), and a significant additive effect in the ventral DG (p = 0.001). These findings indicate that the combination of enriched environment and lithium has both synergistic and additive effects on the generation of new cells in the healthy adult DG (these effects being possibly segregated along the dorso-ventral axis of the hippocampus), and suggest that it might be worth investigating whether this combination would have a similar effect in neuropathological conditions.