Age-related individual variability in memory performance is associated with amygdala-hippocampal circuit function and emotional pattern separation

Stephanie L. Leal, Jessica A. Noche, Elizabeth A. Murray, Michael A. Yassa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

While aging is generally associated with episodic memory decline, not all older adults exhibit memory loss. Furthermore, emotional memories are not subject to the same extent of forgetting and appear preserved in aging. We conducted high-resolution fMRI during a task involving pattern separation of emotional information in older adults with and without age-related memory impairment (characterized by performance on a word-list learning task: low performers: LP vs. high performers: HP). We found signals consistent with emotional pattern separation in hippocampal dentate (DG)/CA3 in HP but not in LP individuals, suggesting a deficit in emotional pattern separation. During false recognition, we found increased DG/CA3 activity in LP individuals, suggesting that hyperactivity may be associated with overgeneralization. We additionally observed a selective deficit in basolateral amygdala—lateral entorhinal cortex—DG/CA3 functional connectivity in LP individuals during pattern separation of negative information. During negative false recognition, LP individuals showed increased medial temporal lobe functional connectivity, consistent with overgeneralization. Overall, these results suggest a novel mechanistic account of individual differences in emotional memory alterations exhibited in aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-19
Number of pages11
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Volume49
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Keywords

  • Aging
  • Amygdala
  • Emotion
  • Hippocampus
  • Lateral entorhinal cortex
  • Memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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