Age-related memory decline, dysfunction of the hippocampus and therapeutic opportunities

Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2020 Aug 30;102:109943. doi: 10.1016/j.pnpbp.2020.109943. Epub 2020 Apr 13.


While the aging of the population is a sign of progress for societies, it also carries its load of negative aspects. Among them, cognitive decline and in particular memory loss is a common feature of non-pathological aging. Autobiographical memories, which rely on the hippocampus, are a primary target of age-related cognitive decline. Here, focusing on the neurobiological mechanisms of memory formation and storage, we describe how hippocampal functions are altered across time in non-pathological mammalian brains. Several hallmarks of aging have been well described over the last decades; among them, we consider altered synaptic communication and plasticity, reduction of adult neurogenesis and epigenetic alterations. Building on the neurobiological processes of cognitive aging that have been identified to date, we review some of the strategies based on lifestyle manupulation allowing to address age-related cognitive deficits.

Keywords: Adult neurogenesis; Aging; Epigenetic; Hippocampus; Synaptic plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hippocampus / growth & development*
  • Hippocampus / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory Disorders / physiopathology
  • Memory Disorders / psychology*
  • Memory Disorders / therapy*
  • Memory, Episodic
  • Neurogenesis