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

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    57 Scopus citations

    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.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1093-1110
    Number of pages18
    JournalAge
    Volume34
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Oct 2012

    Keywords

    • Aging
    • Myelination
    • White matter

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Aging
    • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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