Dendritic growth in medial prefrontal cortex and cognitive flexibility are enhanced during the postpartum period

Benedetta Leuner, Elizabeth Gould

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations

Abstract

The postpartum period is associated with numerous hormonal changes, some of which have been linked to detrimental effects on the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a brain region involved in cognition. Here, we investigated whether mPFC structure and function are negatively influenced during the postpartum period, an outcome that might be predicted by the maternal hormonal milieu. Mother rats were tested on an attentional set-shifting task, and dendritic architecture of layer 2/3 mPFC pyramidal neurons was analyzed. Mother rats exhibited increased dendritic spine number in the mPFC, an effect that coincided with improved attention and behavioral flexibility. These findings suggest that the postpartum period is associated with promotion of neuronal growth in the mPFC and enhanced cognitive function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13499-13503
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume30
Issue number40
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 6 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

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