Touch gives new life: Mechanosensation modulates spinal cord adult neurogenesis

Ravid Shechter, Kuti Baruch, Michal Schwartz, A. Rolls

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The ability to respond to a wide range of novel touch sensations and to habituate upon repeated exposures is fundamental for effective sensation. In this study we identified adult spinal cord neurogenesis as a potential novel player in the mechanism of tactile sensation. We demonstrate that a single exposure to a novel mechanosensory stimulus induced immediate proliferation of progenitor cells in the spinal dorsal horn, whereas repeated exposures to the same stimulus induced neuronal differentiation and survival. Most of the newly formed neurons differentiated toward a GABAergic fate. This touch-induced neurogenesis reflected the novelty of the stimuli, its diversity, as well as stimulus duration. Introducing adult neurogenesis as a potential mechanism of response to a novel stimulus and for habituation to repeated sensory exposures opens up potential new directions in treating hypersensitivity, pain and other mechanosensory disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-352
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Psychiatry
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2011


  • adult neurogenesis
  • enriched environment
  • habituation
  • mechanosensory
  • spinal cord
  • touch

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology


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