Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 March 2018
Although recent studies have suggested that the γ-aminobutyric acid type A (GABAA) receptor binding affinity can be a more sensitive marker of age-related neuronal loss than regional gray matter (GM) volume, knowledge about the relationship between decreased GABAA receptor binding affinity and cognitive decline during normal aging is still limited.
Thirty-seven healthy elderly individuals (aged 50–77 years (mean, 64.5 ± 7.3 years); 15 males and 22 females) were enrolled in this study. We investigated the association of the performance of the healthy elderly in the attentional function test with regional GM volume, regional cerebral bold flow (rCBF), and GABAA receptor binding affinity in the resting state by structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), arterial spin labeling (ASL), and 123I-iomazenil (IMZ) SPECT, with the analysis focusing on the bilateral inferior frontal gyri.
The score of the rapid visual information processing (RVP) test, which is used to assess visual sustained attention, showed a positive correlation with GABAA receptor binding affinity in the right inferior frontal gyrus. No significant correlation was found between RVP test score and regional GM volume or rCBF.
The findings of 123I-IMZ SPECT, but not those of structural MRI or ASL, suggest that a decreased GABAA receptor binding affinity can be a sensitive marker of cognitive impairment.
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