Noradrenergic-dependent functions are associated with age-related locus coeruleus signal intensity differences

Published on Apr 6, 2020in Nature Communications12.121
· DOI :10.1038/S41467-020-15410-W
Kathy Y. Liu3
Estimated H-index: 3
(UCL: University College London),
Kathy Y. Liu10
Estimated H-index: 10
(UCL: University College London)
+ 6 AuthorsLorraine K. Tyler88
Estimated H-index: 88
The locus coeruleus (LC), the origin of noradrenergic modulation of cognitive and behavioral function, may play an important role healthy ageing and in neurodegenerative conditions. We investigated the functional significance of age-related differences in mean normalized LC signal intensity values (LC-CR) in magnetization-transfer (MT) images from the Cambridge Centre for Ageing and Neuroscience (Cam-CAN) cohort - an open-access, population-based dataset. Using structural equation modelling, we tested the pre-registered hypothesis that putatively noradrenergic (NA)-dependent functions would be more strongly associated with LC-CR in older versus younger adults. A unidimensional model (within which LC-CR related to a single factor representing all cognitive and behavioral measures) was a better fit with the data than the a priori two-factor model (within which LC-CR related to separate NA-dependent and NA-independent factors). Our findings support the concept that age-related reduction of LC structural integrity is associated with impaired cognitive and behavioral function. Alterations of locus coeruleus signal intensity have been associated with functional changes in health and disease. Here, the authors tested a pre-registered hypothesis on a large number of subjects as part of the Cam-CAN consortium.
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