Fish have particularly high levels of adult neurogenesis, and this high neurogenic capacity may contribute to behavioural plasticity. While it is known that adult-born cells can differentiate into neurons and incorporate into neural circuits, it is unclear whether they are responsive to external stimuli and are thereby capable of contributing to behavioural change. We tested whether cells born in the telencephalon of adult zebrafish are activated by social stimuli. We marked cell birth with BrdU and, 40 days later, exposed fish to brief (15 min) visual social stimuli and assayed cellular activity through immunolocalization of phospho-S6-ribosomal protein (pS6). BrdU+/pS6+ co-labelled cells were found in six brain regions, and, in four regions [dorsal (D), dorsomedial (Dm) and dorsolateral (Dl) zones of the dorsal telencephalon and pre-optic area (POA)], the number of co-labelled cells and fraction of BrdU+ cells that labelled positive for pS6 increased during social stimulation. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that adult-born neurons play a role in regulating social behaviour.

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