Age-related changes in polyamines in memory-associated brain structures in rats

Neuroscience. 2008 Aug 26;155(3):789-96. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2008.06.033. Epub 2008 Jun 19.


Polyamines putrescine, spermidine and spermine are positively charged aliphatic amines and have important roles in maintaining normal cellular function, regulating neurotransmitter receptors and modulating learning and memory. Recent evidence suggests a role of putrescine in hippocampal neurogenesis, that is significantly impaired during aging. The present study measured the polyamine levels in memory-related brain structures in 24- (aged), 12- (middle-aged) and 4- (young) month-old rats using liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry and high performance liquid chromatography. In the hippocampus, the putrescine levels were significantly decreased in the CA1 and dentate gyrus, and increased in the CA2/3 with age. Significant age-related increases in the spermidine levels were found in the CA1 and CA2/3. There was no difference between groups in spermine in any sub-regions examined. In the parahippocampal region, increased putrescine level with age was observed in the entorhinal cortex, and age did not alter the spermidine levels. The spermine level was significantly decreased in the perirhinal cortex and increased in the postrhinal cortex with age. In the prefrontal cortex, there was age-related decrease in putrescine, and the spermidine and spermine levels were significantly increased with age. This study, for the first time, demonstrates age-related region-specific changes in polyamines in memory-associated structures, suggesting that polyamine system dysfunction may potentially contribute to aged-related impairments in hippocampal neurogenesis and learning and memory.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Polyamines / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Polyamines