Age-related changes in Arc transcription and DNA methylation within the hippocampus

M. R. Penner, T. L. Roth, M. K. Chawla, L. T. Hoang, E. D. Roth, F. D. Lubin, J. D. Sweatt, P. F. Worley, C. A. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


The transcription of genes that support memory processes are likely to be impacted by the normal aging process. Because Arc is necessary for memory consolidation and enduring synaptic plasticity, we examined Arc transcription within the aged hippocampus. Here, we report that Arc transcription is reduced within the aged hippocampus compared to the adult hippocampus during both "off line" periods of rest, and following spatial behavior. This reduction is observed within ensembles of CA1 "place cells", which make less mRNA per cell, and in the dentate gyrus (DG) where fewer granule cells are activated by behavior. In addition, we present data suggesting that aberrant changes in methylation of the Arc gene may be responsible for age-related decreases in Arc transcription within CA1 and the DG. Given that Arc is necessary for normal memory function, these subregion-specific epigenetic and transcriptional changes may result in less efficient memory storage and retrieval during aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2198-2210
Number of pages13
JournalNeurobiology of aging
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Epigenetics
  • Hippocampus
  • Immediate-early gene
  • Normal aging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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