Vesicular glutamate transporter 2 (VGLUT2) and area 46 of the prefrontal cortex
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lmprovements in healthcare and medicine have resulted in an older population. People who live longer are experiencing cognitive changes related to normal aging. While it was once thought that aging was a result of the lobs of neurons, this has been proven false. There are many cognitive changes that occur with time but perhaps the best studied is the cognitive decline in memory. The prefrontal cortex is an area of the brain known to play a role in executive function. It plays an important role in memory by monitoring and considering information. A major input to the prefrontal cortex, and especially area 46, comes from the thalamus. These thalamocortical inputs, known to be from the mediodorsal nucleus as well as other nuclei, travel from the thalamus and to the cortex and enter layer 4 of the cortex. These thalamocortical inputs may be diminished in an aged state. Studying the Vesicular Glutamate Transporter 2 (VGLUT2) in young and old animals would be useful to detect whether any changes in thalamocortical inputs occur with age. An immunohistochemistry experiment using VGLUT2 as a primary antibody on both old and young macaque monkeys was performed. The results demonstrated that young animals had higher counts of boutons than older animals. The data were not conclusive enough to be statistical evidence, and therefore more research must be done on VGLUT2 in area 46.
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