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Neurobiol Aging. 2013 Apr;34(4):1184-98. doi: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2012.10.017. Epub 2012 Nov 15.

Spatial behavior and seizure-induced changes in c-fos mRNA expression in young and old rats.

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ARL Division of Neural Systems, Memory and Aging and Evelyn F McKnight Brain Institute, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85724-5115, USA.


The subcellular processes of gene induction and expression in the hippocampus are likely to underlie some of the known age-related impairments in spatial learning and memory. It is well established that immediate-early genes are rapidly and transiently induced in response to neuronal activity and this expression is required for stabilization of durable memories. To examine whether age-related memory impairment might be caused, in part, by differences in the level of cellular activation or subcellular processing, c-fos expression in CA1 pyramidal and dentate gyrus granule cells in the dorsal hippocampus of young and old rats was determined using fluorescence in situ hybridization and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. No significant age differences were found in the numbers of pyramidal or granule cells that show c-fos expression; however, c-fos mRNA transcripts were altered in these 2 cell types in aged animals. These findings suggest that though the networks of cells that participate in behavior or seizure-induced activity are largely maintained in aged rats, their RNA transcript levels are altered. This might, in part, contribute to cognitive deficits frequently observed with advancing age.

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