Age-related changes in Egr1 transcription and DNA methylation within the hippocampus

M. R. Penner, R. R. Parrish, L. T. Hoang, T. L. Roth, F. D. Lubin, C. A. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Aged animals show functional alterations in hippocampal neurons that lead to deficits in synaptic plasticity and changes in cognitive function. Transcription of immediate-early genes (IEGs), including Egr1, is necessary for processes such as long-term potentiation and memory consolidation. Here, we show an age-related reduction in the transcription of Egr1 in the dentate gyrus following spatial behavior, whereas in the area CA1, Egr1 is reduced at rest, but its transcription can be effectively driven by spatial behavior to levels equivalent to those observed in adult animals. One mechanism possibly contributing to these aging-related changes is an age-associated, CpG site-specific change in methylation in DNA associated with the promoter region of the Egr1 gene. Our results add to a growing body of work demonstrating that complex transcriptional and epigenetic changes in the hippocampus significantly contribute to brain and cognitive aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1008-1020
Number of pages13
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • aging
  • epigenetic modulation
  • memory
  • transcriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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