Age-related deficits in a forebrain-dependent task, trace-eyeblink conditioning

Roberto Galvez, Sabrina Cua, John F. Disterhoft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Trace-eyeblink conditioning is a forebrain-dependent learning paradigm that has assisted in our understanding of age-related hippocampal neuronal plasticity; however, the hippocampus is not believed to be the permanent site for most long-term-memory storage. Studies in adult subjects have suggested the neocortex as one such site. Whisker plucking studies have further suggested that the ability for plasticity in the neocortex declines with age. Mice were trained in trace- and delay-eyeblink conditioning with whisker or auditory stimulation as the conditioned stimulus to examine possible age-related behavioral and neocortical abnormalities. Whisker stimulation was determined to be a more effective stimulus for examining age-related behavioral abnormalities in C57 mice. Additionally, neocortical barrel expansion, observed in trace conditioned adult mice and rabbits, does not occur in mice conditioned on a delay paradigm or in old mice unable to learn the whisker trace association. Abnormalities in neocortical memory storage in the elderly could contribute to normal age-dependent declines in associative learning abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1915-1922
Number of pages8
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Barrel cortex
  • Hippocampus
  • Somatosensory
  • Whisker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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