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The relationship between hippocampal subfield volumes and autobiographical memory persistence

Barry, DN; Clark, IA; Maguire, EA; (2020) The relationship between hippocampal subfield volumes and autobiographical memory persistence. Hippocampus 10.1002/hipo.23293. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Structural integrity of the human hippocampus is widely acknowledged to be necessary for the successful encoding and retrieval of autobiographical memories. However, evidence for an association between hippocampal volume and the ability to recall such memories in healthy individuals is mixed. Here we examined this issue further by combining two approaches. First, we focused on the anatomically distinct subregions of the hippocampus where more nuanced associations may be expressed compared to considering the whole hippocampal volume. A manual segmentation protocol of hippocampal subregions allowed us to separately calculate the volumes of the dentate gyrus/CA4, CA3/2, CA1, subiculum, pre/parasubiculum and uncus. Second, a critical feature of autobiographical memories is that they can span long time periods, and so we sought to consider how memory details persist over time by conducting a longitudinal study whereby participants had to recall the same autobiographical memories on two visits spaced 8 months apart. Overall, we found that there was no difference in the total number of internal (episodic) details produced at Visits 1 and 2. However, further probing of detail subcategories revealed that specifically the amount of subjective thoughts and emotions included during recall had declined significantly by the second visit. We also observed a strong correlation between left pre/parasubiculum volume and the amount of autobiographical memory internal details produced over time. This positive relationship was evident for particular facets of the memories, with remembered events, perceptual observations and thoughts and emotions benefitting from greater volume of the left pre/parasubiculum. These preliminary findings expand upon existing functional neuroimaging evidence by highlighting a potential link between left pre/parasubiculum volume and autobiographical memory. A larger pre/parasubiculum appears not only to protect against memory decay, but may possibly enhance memory persistence, inviting further scrutiny of the role of this brain region in remote autobiographical memory retrieval.

Type: Article
Title: The relationship between hippocampal subfield volumes and autobiographical memory persistence
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/hipo.23293
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hipo.23293
Language: English
Additional information: © 2020 The Authors. Hippocampus published by Wiley Periodicals LLC This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: autobiographical memory, episodic, hippocampus, longitudinal, pre, parasubiculum, subfields, volume, MEDIAL TEMPORAL-LOBE, EPISODIC-MEMORY, ANTERIOR HIPPOCAMPUS, PATTERN SEPARATION, SEGMENTATION, SUBREGIONS, BRAIN, IMAGINATION, FUTURE, SIZE
UCL classification: UCL
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 > Experimental Psychology
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 > Imaging Neuroscience
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10118470
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