In order to characterize age-related cognitive changes, olfactory discrimination was assessed in Microcebus murinus, a prosimian primate. We compared young (n = 10) and old (n = 8) animals for individual performance on three olfactory tasks. Animals had to perform a detection, a transfer, and a reversal learning task using a go, no go conditioning procedure. No differences were observed between the two groups, indicating that aging is not inevitably associated with a decline in cognitive function. We did, however, observe two aged animals showing altered behavior. One animal displayed impairments in the reversal learning task, and the other showed impairments in both the transfer and reversal tasks. Transfer impairment may be due to a hippocampal alteration, whereas the perseverative tendency noted in the reversal task may be associated with frontal lobe dysfunction. Because some aged M. murinus display lesions that are pathognomonic of Alzheimer’s disease, our observations highlight its potential utility as a primate model for studying cognitive deﬁcits in relation to age and associated pathologies.
|Journal||Neurobiology of Aging|
|Early online date||13 May 2005|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2006|