Association of early experience with neurodegeneration in aged primates

David A. Merrill, Eliezer Masliah, Jeffery A. Roberts, Heather McKay, Jeffery H. Kordower, Elliott J. Mufson, Mark H. Tuszynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Environment influences brain development, neurogenesis and, possibly, vulnerability to neurodegenerative disease. We retrospectively examined the brains of aged rhesus monkeys reared during early life in either small cages or larger, " standard-sized" cages; all monkeys were subsequently maintained in standard-sized cages during adulthood. Aged monkeys reared in smaller cages exhibited significantly greater β-amyloid plaque deposition in the neocortex and a significant reduction in synaptophysin immunolabeling in cortical regions compared to aged monkeys reared in standard-sized cages (p< 0.001 and p< 0.05, respectively). These findings suggest that early environment may influence brain structure and vulnerability to neurodegenerative changes in late life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-156
Number of pages6
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Environment
  • Neocortex
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Rhesus monkey
  • Synapse density
  • Synaptophysin
  • β-Amyloid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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