Loss of control in aging brains

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Science  02 Aug 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6452, pp. 459-460
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6452.459-b

Aging is often accompanied by deterioration in learning and memory. Given that loss of learning capacity is not usually associated with massive cell death, subtler changes must be at work. To understand what is happening at the level of individual neurons, Pereda et al. created transgenic mice that expressed a calcium sensor specifically in presynaptic terminals of the CA1 region of the hippocampus. This allowed the authors to measure how calcium signaling altered with age. Older animals showed increased calcium influx into the neurons and persistently increased concentration of calcium in resting neurons. Elevating calcium altered the properties of younger neurons to resemble those of aged counterparts. Higher calcium altered neuronal transmission with parallel loss of cognitive function in the animals.

Aging Cell 10.1111/acel.13008 (2019).

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