[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Rhesus monkeys provide a valuable model for studying the neurobiological basis of cognitive aging, because they are vulnerable to age-related memory decline in a manner similar to humans. In this study, young and aged monkeys were first tested on a well characterized recognition memory test (delayed nonmatching-to-sample; DNMS). Then, electron microscopic immunocytochemistry was performed to determine the subcellular localization of two proteins in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG): the GluA2 subunit of the glutamate AMPA receptor and the atypical protein kinase C ζ isoform (PKMζ). PKMζ promotes memory storage by regulating GluA2-containing AMPA receptor trafficking. Thus, we examined whether the distribution of GluA2 and PKMζ is altered with aging in DG axospinous synapses and whether it is coupled with memory deficits. Monkeys with faster DNMS task acquisition and more accurate recognition memory exhibited higher proportions of dendritic spines coexpressing GluA2 and PKMζ. These double-labeled spines had larger synapses, as measured by postsynaptic density area, than single-labeled and unlabeled spines. Within this population of double-labeled spines, aged monkeys compared with young expressed a lower density of synaptic GluA2 immunogold labeling, which correlated with lower recognition accuracy. Additionally, higher density of synaptic PKMζ labeling in double-labeled spines correlated with both faster task acquisition and better retention. Together, these findings suggest that age-related impairment in maintenance of GluA2 at the synapse in the primate hippocampus is coupled with memory deficits.
Journal of Neuroscience 05/2012; 32(21):7336-44. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Age-related memory impairment occurs in many mammalian species, including humans. Moreover, women undergoing the menopausal transition often complain of problems with memory. We recently reported that rhesus monkeys display age- and menopause-related recognition memory impairment on a hippocampus-reliant test [delayed nonmatching-to-sample (DNMS)]. In the same monkeys, perforated synapse densities in the dentate gyrus outer molecular layer (OML) correlated with DNMS recognition accuracy, while total axospinous synapse density was similar across age and menses groups. The current study examined whether synaptic characteristics of OML axonal boutons are coupled with age- or menopause-related memory deficits. Using serial section electron microscopy, we measured the frequencies of single-synapse boutons (SSBs), multiple-synapse boutons (MSBs), and boutons with no apparent synaptic contacts [nonsynaptic boutons (NSBs)] in the OML. Aged females had double the percentage of NSBs compared with young females, and this measure correlated positively and inversely with DNMS acquisition (number of trials to criterion) and delay performance (average accuracy), respectively. Aged compared with young females also had a lower frequency of MSBs and a lower number of synaptic contacts per MSB, and the latter variable inversely correlated with DNMS acquisition. Although proportions of NSBs, SSBs, and MSBs were similar across menses groups, compared with premenopausal monkeys, peri/postmenopausal monkeys had fewer MSBs contacting one or more segmented perforated synapses, and the abundance of this bouton subtype positively correlated with DNMS performance. These results suggest that age- and menopause-related shifts in OML synaptic subtypes may be coupled with deficits in task acquisition and recognition memory.
Journal of Neuroscience 05/2011; 31(21):7737-44. · 6.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aged rhesus monkeys exhibit deficits in hippocampus-dependent memory, similar to aging humans. Here we explored the basis of cognitive decline by first testing young adult and aged monkeys on a standard recognition memory test (delayed nonmatching-to-sample test; DNMS). Next we quantified synaptic density and morphology in the hippocampal dentate gyrus (DG) outer (OML) and inner molecular layer (IML). Consistent with previous findings, aged monkeys were slow to learn DNMS initially, and they performed significantly worse than young subjects when challenged with longer retention intervals. Although OML and IML synaptic parameters failed to differ across the young and aged groups, the density of perforated synapses in the OML was coupled with recognition memory accuracy. Independent of chronological age, monkeys classified on the basis of menses data as peri- or post-menopausal scored worse on DNMS, and displayed lower OML perforated synapse density, than premenopausal monkeys. These results suggest that naturally occurring reproductive senescence potently influences synaptic connectivity in the DG OML, contributing to individual differences in the course of normal cognitive aging.
Neurobiology of aging 10/2010; 33(2):421.e17-28. · 5.94 Impact Factor