Front Cell Dev Biol 2020 Sep 11; 8:562662
AG057914, AG054180, AG050357, BrightFocus Foundation
Developing strategies to maintain cognitive health is critical to quality of life during aging. The basis of healthy cognitive aging is poorly understood; thus, it is difficult to predict who will have normal cognition later in life. Individuals may have higher baseline functioning (cognitive reserve) and others may maintain or even improve with age (cognitive resilience). Understanding the mechanisms underlying cognitive reserve and resilience may hold the key to new therapeutic strategies for maintaining cognitive health. However, reserve and resilience have been inconsistently defined in human studies. Additionally, our understanding of the molecular and cellular bases of these phenomena is poor, compounded by a lack of longitudinal molecular and cognitive data that fully capture the dynamic trajectories of cognitive aging. Here, we used a genetically diverse mouse population (B6-BXDs) to characterize individual differences in cognitive abilities in adulthood and investigate evidence of cognitive reserve and/or resilience in middle-aged mice. We tested cognitive function at two ages (6 months and 14 months) using y-maze and contextual fear conditioning. We observed heritable variation in performance on these traits (
Dunn, Amy R; Hadad, Niran; Neuner, Sarah M; Zhang, Ji-Gang; Philip, Vivek M.; Dumitrescu, Logan; Hohman, Timothy J; Herskowitz, Jeremy H; O'Connell, Kristen M S; and Kaczorowski, Catherine, "Identifying Mechanisms of Normal Cognitive Aging Using a Novel Mouse Genetic Reference Panel." (2020). Faculty Research 2020. 197.