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Neuroimage. 2012 May 1;60(4):2027-34. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.02.019. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

Age effects on the P300 potential and the corresponding fMRI BOLD-signal.

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Department of Psychiatry, Ruhr-University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.


Age has been reported to influence amplitude and latency of the P300 potential. Nevertheless, it is not yet fully understood which brain regions are responsible for these effects. The aim of this study was to investigate age-effects on the P300 potential and the simultaneously acquired BOLD signal of functional MRI. 32 healthy male subjects were investigated using an auditory oddball paradigm. The functional MRI data were acquired in temporal synchrony to the task. The evoked potential data were recorded during the intervals in between MR image acquisitions in order to reduce the influence of the scanner noise on the presentation of the tones and to reduce gradient artifacts. The age-effects were calculated by means of regression analyses. In addition, brain regions modulated by the task-induced amplitude variation of the P300 were identified (single trial analysis). The results indicated an age effect on the P300 amplitude. Younger subjects demonstrated increased parietal P300 amplitudes and increased BOLD responses in a network of brain regions including the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex, the insula, the temporo-parietal junction, the superior temporal gyrus, the caudate body, the amygdala and the parahippocampal gyrus. Single trial coupling of EEG and fMRI indicated that P300 amplitudes were predominantly associated with neural responses in the anterior cingulate cortex, the putamen and temporal brain areas. Taken together, the results indicate diminished neural responses in older compared to younger subjects especially in frontal, temporo-parietal and subcortical brain regions.

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