Puberty Cues: new brain cells develop in unexpected places

Neuroscientists at Michigan State University have found that new cells develop during puberty to help navigate the complex social and sexual worlds of adulthood.

The researchers have shown that mammalian brains add cells during puberty in the amygdala and interconnected regions, where it was previously thought that no new growth occurred, by injecting male hamsters with a chemical marker to show cell birth during puberty.

The amygdala has the important role of helping the brain make sense of social cues. For hamsters, it picks up signals transmitted by smell through pheromones; in humans, the amygdala evaluates facial expressions and body language.

Some of the new cells were found to contain a protein that indicates cell activation, which told the researchers that those cells had become part of the neural networks involved in social and sexual behavior.

Read more at Michigan State University