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Pharmacological Modulation of Prefrontal Cortical Activity During a Working Memory Task in Young and Older Humans: A PET Study With Physostigmine

Freo, Ulderico and Ricciardi, Emiliano and Pietrini, Pietro and Schapiro, Mark B. and Rapoport, Stanley I. and Furey, Maura L. Pharmacological Modulation of Prefrontal Cortical Activity During a Working Memory Task in Young and Older Humans: A PET Study With Physostigmine. American Journal of Psychiatry, 162 (11). pp. 2061-2070. ISSN 0002-953X (2005)

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OBJECTIVE: Age-associated cholinergic dysfunction may contribute to the cognitive decline observed during aging, including a decline in working memory. The current study was designed to determine how healthy aging influences the neural response to working memory before and during pharmacological potentiation of the cholinergic system. METHOD: In 13 young and 13 older healthy volunteers, regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) was measured by using [15O]H2O and positron emission tomography across 10 scans that alternated between a working-memory-for-faces task and rest. In all subjects, the first two scans were obtained during intravenous saline infusion. Seven young and eight older subjects then received intravenous infusion of physostigmine, a cholinesterase inhibitor, and the remaining six young and five older subjects continued to receive saline. RESULTS: In the placebo condition, task-specific rCBF increases in prefrontal regions were observed in the right middle and inferior frontal cortices in young subjects and in more anterior and ventral prefrontal regions in older individuals. Physostigmine during the working memory task significantly improved performance in both age groups. The right prefrontal regions that were selectively recruited in each age group during the placebo condition showed significantly lower rCBF during physostigmine administration. CONCLUSIONS: Cholinergic enhancement does not affect structurally defined cortical regions but rather modulates neural activity in functionally defined regions, that is, in task-related prefrontal cortical areas that are selectively and distinctively recruited in young and older subjects.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number: 10.1176/appi.ajp.162.11.2061
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Research Area: Computer Science and Applications
Depositing User: Caterina Tangheroni
Date Deposited: 23 Mar 2016 12:27
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2016 10:13
URI: http://eprints.imtlucca.it/id/eprint/3314

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