The effects of aging on dentate circuitry and function

Prog Brain Res. 2007;163:679-96. doi: 10.1016/S0079-6123(07)63037-4.


The central nervous system (CNS) undergoes a variety of anatomic, physiologic, and behavioral changes during aging. One region that has received a great deal of attention is the hippocampal formation due to the increased incidence of impaired spatial learning and memory with age. The hippocampal formation is also highly susceptible to Alzheimer's disease, ischemia/hypoxia, and seizure generation, the three most common aging-related neurological disorders. While data reveal that the dentate gyrus plays a key role in hippocampal function and dysfunction, the majority of electrophysiological studies that have examined the effects of age on the hippocampal formation have focused on CA3 and CA1. We perceive this to be an oversight and consequently will highlight data in this review which demonstrate an age-related disruption in dentate circuitry and function, and propose that these changes contribute to the decline in hippocampal-dependent behavior seen with "normal" aging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Dentate Gyrus / anatomy & histology*
  • Dentate Gyrus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*