This chapter begins by discussing the types of structural plasticity in the hippocampal formation and then focuses on the evidence revealing that new neurons are formed in the dentate gyrus throughout life. It reviews the literature related to the modulation of neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus by hormones and by experience and considers the role these new cells may play in hippocampal function. The possibility that new cells participate in certain types of learning and in the modulation of anxiety and stress responses is explored. Some recent evidence suggesting unusual properties of immature neurons is considered in light of the hypothesis that a continual influx of these unique cells to hippocampal circuitry has important functional consequences.
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