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Neural Plasticity
Volume 9 (2002), Issue 4, Pages 217-232

Aging and Synaptic Plasticity: A Review

1International Center for Neurological Restoration, Havana, Cuba
2International Center for Neurological Restoration (CIREN), Ave. 25 # 15805 11300 Playa, Ciudad de La Habana, Cuba

Copyright © 2002 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aging affects all systems, but the brain seems to be particularly vulnerable to the action of negative, age-dependent factors. A gradual loss of memory functions is one of the earliest and most widespread consequences of brain aging. The causes for such impairment are still unclear. Long-term potentiation (LTP) is one form of neural plasticity, which has been proposed as the cellular correlate for memory. LTP is affected by aging, and such alteration might be causally related to memory dysfunction. In the present paper, we review the evidence sustaining the existence of a causal link between cognitive and LTP impairments, as well as the possible mechanisms involved. New results indicate a possible involvement of a deficient reinforcement of LTP by affective influences.