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Neural Plast. 2008;2008:595282. doi: 10.1155/2008/595282.

The role of the entorhinal cortex in extinction: influences of aging.

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Centro de Memória, Instituto de Pesquisas Biomédicas, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Avenue Ipiranga 6690, 2nd floor, 90610-000 Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil.


The entorhinal cortex is perhaps the area of the brain in which neurofibrillary tangles and amyloid plaques are first detectable in old age with or without mild cognitive impairment, and very particularly in Alzheimer's disease. It plays a key role in memory formation, retrieval, and extinction, as part of circuits that include the hippocampus, the amygdaloid nucleus, and several regions of the neocortex, in particular of the prefrontal cortex. Lesions or biochemical impairments of the entorhinal cortex hinder extinction. Microinfusion experiments have shown that glutamate NMDA receptors, calcium and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, and protein synthesis in the entorhinal cortex are involved in and required for extinction. Aging also hinders extinction; it is possible that its effect may be in part mediated by the entorhinal cortex.

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