Structural Plasticity and Hippocampal Function

Posted: 4 Jun 2010

Date Written: January 2010


The hippocampus is a region of the mammalian brain that shows an impressive capacity for structural reorganization. Preexisting neural circuits undergo modifications in dendritic complexity and synapse number, and entirely novel neural connections are formed through the process of neurogenesis. These types of structural change were once thought to be restricted to development. However, it is now generally accepted that the hippocampus remains structurally plastic throughout life. This article reviews structural plasticity in the hippocampus over the lifespan, including how it is investigated experimentally. The modulation of structural plasticity by various experiential factors as well as the possible role it may have in hippocampal functions such as learning and memory, anxiety, and stress regulation are also considered. Although significant progress has been made in many of these areas, we highlight some of the outstanding issues that remain.

Suggested Citation

Leuner, Benedetta and Gould, Elizabeth, Structural Plasticity and Hippocampal Function (January 2010). Annual Review of Psychology, Vol. 61, pp. 111-140, 2010. Available at SSRN: or

Benedetta Leuner (Contact Author)

Princeton University

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Elizabeth Gould

Princeton University ( email )

22 Chambers Street
Princeton, NJ 08544-0708
United States

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics