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Hum Brain Mapp. 2009 Dec;30(12):3981-92. doi: 10.1002/hbm.20823.

Entorhinal cortex structure and functional MRI response during an associative verbal memory task.

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1
Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center, David Geffen School of Medicine, University of California, Los Angeles, California, USA.

Abstract

Entorhinal cortex (ERC) volume in adults with mild cognitive impairment has been shown to predict prodromal Alzheimer's disease (AD). Likewise, neuronal loss in ERC has been associated with AD, but not with normal aging. Because ERC is part of a major pathway modulating input to the hippocampus, structural changes there may result in changes to cognitive performance and functional brain activity during memory tasks. In 32 cognitively intact older adults, we examined the relationship between left ERC thickness and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activity during an associative verbal memory task. This task has been shown previously to activate regions that are sensitive to aging and AD risk. ERC was manually defined on native space, high resolution, oblique coronal MRI scans. Subjects having thicker left ERC showed greater activation in anterior cingulate and medial frontal regions during memory retrieval, but not encoding. This result was independent of hippocampal volume. Anterior cingulate cortex is directly connected to ERC, and is, along with medial frontal cortex, implicated in error detection, which is impaired in AD. Our results suggest that in healthy older adults, processes that engage frontal regions during memory retrieval are related to ERC structure.

PMID:
19507155
PMCID:
PMC2787760
DOI:
10.1002/hbm.20823
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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