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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2014, Article ID 497657, 11 pages
Review Article

The Interplay between Reproductive Social Stimuli and Adult Olfactory Bulb Neurogenesis

1Department of Life Sciences and Systems Biology, University of Turin, Via Accademia Albertina 13 ,10123 Torino, Italy
2Neuroscience Institute Cavalieri Ottolenghi (NICO), Regione Gonzole 10, Orbassano, 10043 Torino, Italy

Received 22 April 2014; Accepted 19 June 2014; Published 22 July 2014

Academic Editor: Heather Cameron

Copyright © 2014 Paolo Peretto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Adult neurogenesis is a striking form of structural plasticity that adapts the brain to the changing world. Accordingly, new neuron production is involved in cognitive functions, such as memory, learning, and pattern separation. Recent data in rodents indicate a close link between adult neurogenesis and reproductive social behavior. This provides a key to unravel the functional meaning of adult neurogenesis in biological relevant contexts and, in parallel, opens new perspectives to explore the way the brain is processing social stimuli. In this paper we will summarize some of the major achievements on cues and mechanisms modulating adult neurogenesis during social behaviors related to reproduction and possible role/s played by olfactory newborn neurons in this context. We will point out that newborn interneurons in the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB) represent a privileged cellular target for social stimuli that elicit reproductive behaviors and that such cues modulate adult neurogenesis at two different levels increasing both proliferation of neuronal progenitors in the germinative regions and integration of newborn neurons into functional circuits. This dual mechanism provides fresh neurons that can be involved in critical activities for the individual fitness, that is, the processing of social stimuli driving the parental behavior and partner recognition.