In addition to the regulation of social and emotional behaviors, the hypothalamic neuropeptide oxytocin has been shown to stimulate neurogenesis in adult dentate gyrus; however, the mechanisms underlying the action of oxytocin are still unclear. Taking advantage of the conditional knockout mouse model, we show here that endogenous oxytocin signaling functions in a non-cell autonomous manner to regulate survival and maturation of newly generated dentate granule cells in adult mouse hippocampus via oxytocin receptors expressed in CA3 pyramidal neurons. Through bidirectional chemogenetic manipulations, we also uncover a significant role for CA3 pyramidal neuron activity in regulating adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus. Retrograde neuronal tracing combined with immunocytochemistry revealed that the oxytocin neurons in the paraventricular nucleus project directly to the CA3 region of the hippocampus. Our findings reveal a critical role for oxytocin signaling in adult neurogenesis.
Oxytocin (OXT) has been implicated in adult neurogenesis. Here the authors show that CA3 pyramidal cells in the adult mouse hippocampus express OXT receptors and receive inputs from hypothalamic OXT neurons; activation of OXT signaling in CA3 pyramidal cells promotes the survival and maturation of newborn neurons in the dentate gyrus in a non-cell autonomous manner.