Hippocampal contributions to novel spatial learning are both age-related and age-invariant

Li Zheng, Zhiyao Gao, Stephanie Doner, Alexis Oyao, Martha Forloines, Matthew D. Grilli, Carol A. Barnes, Arne D. Ekstrom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Older adults show declines in spatial memory, although the extent of these alterations is not uniform across the healthy older population. Here, we investigate the stability of neural representations for the same and different spatial environments in a sample of younger and older adults using high-resolution functional MRI of the medial temporal lobes. Older adults showed, on average, lower neural pattern similarity for retrieving the same environment and more variable neural patterns compared to young adults. We also found a positive association between spatial distance discrimination and the distinctiveness of neural patterns between environments. Our analyses suggested that one source for this association was the extent of informational connectivity to CA1 from other subfields, which was dependent on age, while another source was the fidelity of signals within CA1 itself, which was independent of age. Together, our findings suggest both age-dependent and independent neural contributions to spatial memory performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2307884120
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number50
StatePublished - 2023


  • aging
  • fMRI
  • hippocampus
  • remapping
  • spatial memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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