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The team tested whether stimulating the entorhinal cortex or the hippocampus while they were learning their way around the city improved their recall.
In general, in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, large pyramidal neurons exhibited the greatest degree of intracellular staining.
The entorhinal cortex is the route through which almost all sensory information flows, from the cerebral cortex to hippocampus and from the hippocampus back to cerebral cortex.
Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center have found that it begins specifically in the lateral entorhinal cortex, which is considered to be a gateway to the hippocampus, which plays a key role in the consolidation of long-term memory, among other functions.
The medial entorhinal cortex acts as a hub of neural networks for memory and navigation.
This time, they correlated clusterin levels with MR imaging that showed atrophy of the entorhinal cortex, a component of the medial temporal lobe that shows early pathological changes in AD.
NP-12, the only GSK-3 inhibitor under clinical development for AD, has proven to be capable of acting on all of the histopathological lesions associated with the disease in experimental models: it reduces phosphorylation of the tau protein and hippocampal and entorhinal cortex neuron loss, improves spatial memory deficits and significantly reduces the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain.
The entorhinal cortex, a neural area targeted by this devastating condition, is substantially thinner in youths who possess a gene variant previously linked to Alzheimer's disease than it is in their peers who inherit other versions of the same gene, say Philip Shaw of the National Institute of Mental Health in Bethesda, Md.
Structural MRI included volumetric measurements of the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, and amygdala, as well as voxel-based morphometry.
The team also analyzed cells from their entorhinal cortex (EC), which served as controls since that brain structure is unaffected by aging.
While previous studies have suggested that the dialogue between the old and the new brain during sleep was critical for memory formation, researchers had not investigated the contribution of the entorhinal cortex to this conversation, which turned out to be a game changer, Mehta said.
Far from being active only in the periphery, insulin readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and binds to receptors located throughout the brain--especially in areas of strategic importance in cognition: the hippocampus, entorhinal cortex, and frontal cortex.
Volumetric MRI has been particularly useful in tracking rates of atrophy in the hippocampus and entorhinal cortex, regions of the brain that are critical to recognition and recall memory, and in tracking rates of atrophy in the whole brain in Alzheimer's patients.
Cells were smaller and more closely packed together in several interrelated limbic regions, including the hippocampus, subiculum and entorhinal cortex.
Grid cells' electrical activities were recorded by introducing electrodes into monkeys' entorhinal cortex, a region of the brain in the medial temporal lobe.