Normal aging disrupts hippocampal neuroplasticity and learning and memory. Aging deficits were exposed in a subset (30%) of middle-aged mice that performed below criterion on a hippocampal-dependent contextual fear conditioning task. Basal neuronal excitability was comparable in middle-aged and young mice, but learning-related modulation of the post-burst afterhyperpolarization (AHP) - a general mechanism engaged during learning - was impaired in CA1 neurons from middle-aged weak learners. Thus, modulation of neuronal excitability is critical for retention of context fear in middle-aged mice. Disruption of AHP plasticity may contribute to contextual fear deficits in middle-aged mice - a model of age-associated cognitive decline (AACD).
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
- Cognitive Neuroscience