The importance of being subtle: small changes in calcium homeostasis control cognitive decline in normal aging

Aging Cell. 2007 Jun;6(3):267-73. doi: 10.1111/j.1474-9726.2007.00296.x.


Aging is a complex, multifactorial process. One of the features of normal aging of the brain is a decline in cognitive functions and much experimental attention has been devoted to understanding this process. Evidence accumulated in the last decade indicates that such functional changes are not due to gross morphological alterations, but to subtle functional modification of synaptic connectivity and intracellular signalling and metabolism. Such synaptic modifications are compatible with a normal level of activity and allow the maintenance of a certain degree of functional reserve. This is in contrast to the changes in various neurodegenerative diseases, characterized by significant neuronal loss and dramatic and irreversible functional deficit. This whole special issue has been initiated with the intention of focusing on the processes of normal brain aging. In this review, we present data that shows how subtle changes in Ca(2+) homeostasis or in the state of various Ca(2+)-dependent processes or molecules, which occur in aging can have significant functional consequences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium Signaling
  • Cognition Disorders / metabolism
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology*
  • Cognition*
  • Homeostasis*
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Synaptic Transmission


  • Calcium