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Neurobiol Aging. 2012 Jun;33(6):1096-109. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2010.09.009. Epub 2010 Oct 22.

Age-related cerebral atrophy in nonhuman primates predicts cognitive impairments.

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Laboratoire de Psychopathologie et de Neuropsychologie, EA, 2027, Université Paris 8, 2 Rue de la Liberté, 93000 St-Denis, France.


In humans, but not in nonhuman primates, a clear relationship has been established between age-associated cognitive decline and atrophy of specific brain regions. We evaluated age-related cerebral atrophy and cognitive alterations in mouse lemur primates. Cerebral atrophy was evaluated by in vivo magnetic resonance imaging in 34 animals aged from 1.9 to 11.8 years. The caudate and splenium were atrophied in most older animals, whereas shrinkage of the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, and septal region was identified in a subgroup of the older animals. The temporal and cingulate cortex also exhibited a severe atrophy, whereas frontal and parietal areas were spared. Measures of cognitive ability in 16 animals studied by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) showed that both executive functions and spatial memory declined with aging. Impairment of executive functions in older animals was associated with atrophy of the septal region while spatial memory performance was related to atrophy of the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex. Mouse lemurs are the first nonhuman primates in which a clear relationship is established between age-associated cognitive alteration and cerebral atrophy.

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