In Vivo Imaging of Rapid Structural Brain Plasticity Following Environmental Enrichment in Mice
Jan Scholz1, Kaitlyn Easson2, and Jason P Lerch1,3
1Mouse Imaging Centre, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Queen's University, Toronto, ON, Canada, 3Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
The time course of the MRI changes associated with learning and experience is still unclear. Here we show with rapid in vivo imaging that brief periods of environmental enrichment of 24-48 h are associated with volumetric increases in a network of distinct brain areas. For the first time we show that the size of these changes is directly related to the length of the enrichment. Our results indicate that the volumetric increases might plateau after about 48 h. This suggests that studies of human brain plasticity, which have often imaged after several weeks of training, might have underestimated the speed of these structural changes.
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