Article abstract

Nature Neuroscience 9, 268 - 275 (2006)
Published online: 15 January 2006 | doi:10.1038/nn1629

Immune cells contribute to the maintenance of neurogenesis and spatial learning abilities in adulthood

Yaniv Ziv1,4, Noga Ron1,4, Oleg Butovsky1, Gennady Landa1, Einav Sudai1, Nadav Greenberg1, Hagit Cohen2, Jonathan Kipnis1,3 & Michal Schwartz1

Neurogenesis is known to take place in the adult brain. This work identifies T lymphocytes and microglia as being important to the maintenance of hippocampal neurogenesis and spatial learning abilities in adulthood. Hippocampal neurogenesis induced by an enriched environment was associated with the recruitment of T cells and the activation of microglia. In immune-deficient mice, hippocampal neurogenesis was markedly impaired and could not be enhanced by environmental enrichment, but was restored and boosted by T cells recognizing a specific CNS antigen. CNS-specific T cells were also found to be required for spatial learning and memory and for the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor in the dentate gyrus, implying that a common immune-associated mechanism underlies different aspects of hippocampal plasticity and cell renewal in the adult brain.

  1. Department of Neurobiology, Weizmann Institute of Science, 76100 Rehovot, Israel.
  2. Ministry of Health, Mental Health Center, Anxiety and Stress Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, 84105 Beer Sheva, Israel.
  3. Present address: Departments of Pharmacology and Ophthalmology, Center for Neurovirology and Neurodegenerative Disorders, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, Nebraska 68198-5800, USA.
  4. These authors contributed equally to this work.

Correspondence to: Michal Schwartz1 e-mail:

Correspondence to: Jonathan Kipnis1,3 e-mail:


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