Diffusion MRI of Structural Brain Plasticity Induced by a Learning and Memory Task
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CitationBlumenfeld-Katzir, Tamar, Ofer Pasternak, Michael Dagan, and Yaniv Assaf. 2011. Diffusion MRI of structural brain plasticity induced by a learning and memory task. PLoS ONE 6(6): e20678.
AbstractBackground: Activity-induced structural remodeling of dendritic spines and glial cells was recently proposed as an important factor in neuroplasticity and suggested to accompany the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP). Although T1 and diffusion MRI have been used to study structural changes resulting from long-term training, the cellular basis of the findings obtained and their relationship to neuroplasticity are poorly understood. Methodology/Principal Finding: Here we used diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to examine the microstructural manifestations of neuroplasticity in rats that performed a spatial navigation task. We found that DTI can be used to define the selective localization of neuroplasticity induced by different tasks and that this process is age-dependent in cingulate cortex and corpus callosum and age-independent in the dentate gyrus. Conclusion/Significance: We relate the observed DTI changes to the structural plasticity that occurs in astrocytes and discuss the potential of MRI for probing structural neuroplasticity and hence indirectly localizing LTP.
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