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Locus coeruleus integrity in old age is selectively related to memories linked with salient negative events

Hämmerer, D; Callaghan, MF; Hopkins, A; Kosciessa, J; Betts, M; Cardenas-Blanco, A; Kanowski, M; ... Düzel, E; + view all (2018) Locus coeruleus integrity in old age is selectively related to memories linked with salient negative events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10.1073/pnas.1712268115. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

The locus coeruleus (LC) is the principal origin of noradrenaline in the brain. LC integrity varies considerably across healthy older individuals, and is suggested to contribute to altered cognitive functions in aging. Here we test this hypothesis using an incidental memory task that is known to be susceptible to noradrenergic modulation. We used MRI neuromelanin (NM) imaging to assess LC structural integrity and pupillometry as a putative index of LC activation in both younger and older adults. We show that older adults with reduced structural LC integrity show poorer subsequent memory. This effect is more pronounced for emotionally negative events, in accord with a greater role for noradrenergic modulation in encoding salient or aversive events. In addition, we found that salient stimuli led to greater pupil diameters, consistent with increased LC activation during the encoding of such events. Our study presents novel evidence that a decrement in noradrenergic modulation impacts on specific components of cognition in healthy older adults. The findings provide a strong motivation for further investigation of the effects of altered LC integrity in pathological aging.

Type: Article
Title: Locus coeruleus integrity in old age is selectively related to memories linked with salient negative events
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1712268115
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1128/AAC.01540-17
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © 2018 the Author(s). Published by PNAS. This open access article is distributed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial No Derivatives License 4.0 (CC BY-NC-ND).
Keywords: aging, episodic memory, locus coeruleus, noradrenaline, pupillometry
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Department of Neuromuscular Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10043978
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