Quantitative MR analyses of the hippocampus: Unspecific metabolic changes in aging

András Szentkuti, Sebastian Guderian, Kolja Schiltz, Jörn Kaufmann, Thomas F. Münte, Hans Jochen Heinze, Emrah Düzel*

*Corresponding author for this work
38 Citations (Scopus)


The age-related structural changes of the human hippocampus are not entirely understood. The goal of the present investigation was to understand better the nature of age-related hippocampal changes by a comparative MR-analysis of four complementary aspects of hippocampal integrity: total volume, metabolite concentration, neuron to glial cell ratio and amount of extracellular diffusion space for water. To that end, we applied MR-based methods of manual and computerized (voxel-based morphometry) volumetry, diffusion-weighted imaging and 1H MR spectroscopy to characterize specific age-related hippocampal effects in a group of 22 healthy old adults in comparison with a group of 13 healthy younger adults. Age-related reductions of the hippocampal N-acetyl aspartate to creatine/choline ratio together with only marginal age-related reductions in hippocampal volumes and increases in diffusion parameters suggest that the process of aging affects mainly the metabolic status of the hippocampus with little equivalent age-related changes in hippocampal cell density. The metabolic changes are unspecific as they are not restricted to the hippocampus but equally occur in measures obtained from extrahippocampal temporal lobe regions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Neurology
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)1345-1353
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.11.2004

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Brain, Behavior and Metabolism (CBBM)


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