AGE

, Volume 34, Issue 5, pp 1093–1110 | Cite as

Age-related changes in human and non-human primate white matter: from myelination disturbances to cognitive decline

  • Steven G. Kohama
  • Douglas L. Rosene
  • Larry S. Sherman
Article

Abstract

The cognitive decline associated with normal aging was long believed to be due primarily to decreased synaptic density and neuron loss. Recent studies in both humans and non-human primates have challenged this idea, pointing instead to disturbances in white matter (WM) including myelin damage. Here, we review both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies in humans and non-human primates that collectively support the hypothesis that WM disturbances increase with age starting at middle age in humans, that these disturbances contribute to age-related cognitive decline, and that age-related WM changes may occur as a result of free radical damage, degenerative changes in cells in the oligodendrocyte lineage, and changes in microenvironments within WM.

Keywords

Aging White matter Myelination 

Abbreviations

AD

Alzheimer’s Disease

ADC

Apparent diffusion coefficient

AxD

Axial diffusivity

CC

Corpus callosum

CSF

Cerebrospinal fluid

DTI

Diffusion tensor imaging

FA

Fractional anisotropy

GM

Gray matter

HA

Hyaluronan

HAS

Hyaluronan synthase

MCI

Mild cognitive impairment

MD

Mean diffusivity

MRI

Magnetic resonance imaging

OPC

Oligodendrocyte progenitor cells

OL

Oligodendrocyte

R2

Transverse relaxation rate

RD

Radial diffusivity

WM

White matter

WMH

White matter hyperintensities

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported in part by NIH grants R01 AG031892 (LSS); P51 RR000163 (LSS and SGK; Oregon National Primate Research Center Grant); P01 AG000001 (DLR), R01 AG021133 (DLR), P51 RR000165 (DLR; Yerkes Primate Center Grant).

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Copyright information

© American Aging Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven G. Kohama
    • 1
  • Douglas L. Rosene
    • 2
  • Larry S. Sherman
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Oregon National Primate Research CenterOregon Health and Science UniversityPortlandUSA
  2. 2.Boston University School of MedicineBostonUSA
  3. 3.Division of NeuroscienceOregon National Primate Research CenterBeavertonUSA

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