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Abstract #4070

Environmental enrichment changes neuroanatomy more than exercise and does not require CREB

Dulcie A Vousden1,2, Alexander Friesen1, Lily Qiu1, Rylan Allemang-Grand1,2, Jan Scholz1, Sheena A Josselyn3,4, Paul W Frankland3,4, and Jason P Lerch1,2

1Mouse Imaging Centre, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada, 2Dept. of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, 3Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada, 4Dept. of Psychology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Human and rodent imaging studies show that experience can lead to task-specific increases in brain structure, but the cellular and molecular basis of these changes is unknown. Here, we test the hypothesis that the these volume changes depend on the same signaling pathways required for learning and memory formation. We exposed mice lacking CREB (a transcription factor critical for memory) to an enriched housing environment, and imaged their brains longitudinally over two weeks. Surprisingly, enrichment altered the neuroanatomy of all mice, regardless of CREB genotype. These findings provide evidence that the volume changes are due to CREB-independent processes.

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