Age-related memory impairments due to reduced blood glucose responses to epinephrine

Ken A. Morris, Qing Chang, Eric G. Mohler, Paul E. Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Increases in blood glucose levels are an important component of the mechanisms by which epinephrine enhances memory formation. The present experiments addressed the hypothesis that a dysfunction in the blood glucose response to circulating epinephrine contributes to age-related memory impairments. Doses of epinephrine and glucagon that significantly increased blood glucose levels in young adult rats were far less effective at doing so in 2-year-old rats. In young rats, epinephrine and glucose were about equally effective in enhancing memory and in prolonging post-training release of acetylcholine in the hippocampus. However, glucose was more effective than epinephrine in enhancing both memory and acetylcholine release in aged rats. These results suggest that an uncoupling between circulating epinephrine and glucose levels in old rats may lead to an age-related reduction in the provision of glucose to the brain during training. This in turn may contribute to age-related changes in memory and neural plasticity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2136-2145
Number of pages10
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetylcholine
  • Aging
  • Inhibitory avoidance
  • Memory enhancement
  • Memory impairment
  • Memory loss
  • Rapid forgetting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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