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Neurobiol Aging. 2011 Jan;32(1):151-6. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2009.01.014. Epub 2009 Mar 24.

Association of early experience with neurodegeneration in aged primates.

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  • 1Department of Neurosciences-0626, University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


Environment influences brain development, neurogenesis and, possibly, vulnerability to neurodegenerative disease. We retrospectively examined the brains of aged rhesus monkeys reared during early life in either small cages or larger, "standard-sized" cages; all monkeys were subsequently maintained in standard-sized cages during adulthood. Aged monkeys reared in smaller cages exhibited significantly greater β-amyloid plaque deposition in the neocortex and a significant reduction in synaptophysin immunolabeling in cortical regions compared to aged monkeys reared in standard-sized cages (p<0.001 and p<0.05, respectively). These findings suggest that early environment may influence brain structure and vulnerability to neurodegenerative changes in late life.

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