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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 May;83(9):3027-31.

Loss of perforated synapses in the dentate gyrus: morphological substrate of memory deficit in aged rats.


Most, but not all, aged rats exhibit a profound deficit in spatial memory when tested in a radial maze--a task known to depend on the integrity of the hippocampal formation. In this study, animals were divided into three groups based on their spatial memory capacity: young adult rats with good memory, aged rats with impaired memory, and aged rats with good memory. Memory-impaired aged animals showed a loss of perforated axospinous synapses in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampal formation in comparison with either young adults or aged rats with good memory. This finding suggests that the loss of perforated axospinous synapses in the hippocampal formation underlies the age-related deficit in spatial memory.

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