Auditory Processing Deficits Are Selectively Associated with Medial Temporal Lobe Mnemonic Function and White Matter Integrity in Aging Macaques

Daniel T. Gray, Lavanya Umapathy, Nicole M. De La Peña, Sara N. Burke, James R. Engle, Theodore P. Trouard, Carol A. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Deficits in auditory function and cognition are hallmarks of normative aging. Recent evidence suggests that hearing-impaired individuals have greater risks of developing cognitive impairment and dementia compared to people with intact auditory function, although the neurobiological bases underlying these associations are poorly understood. Here, a colony of aging macaques completed a battery of behavioral tests designed to probe frontal and temporal lobe-dependent cognition. Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) and visual evoked potentials were measured to assess auditory and visual system function. Structural and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging were then performed to evaluate the microstructural condition of multiple white matter tracts associated with cognition. Animals showing higher cognitive function had significantly better auditory processing capacities, and these associations were selectively observed with tasks that primarily depend on temporal lobe brain structures. Tractography analyses revealed that the fractional anisotropy (FA) of the fimbria-fornix and hippocampal commissure were associated with temporal lobe-dependent visual discrimination performance and auditory sensory function. Conversely, FA of frontal cortex-associated white matter was not associated with auditory processing. Visual sensory function was not associated with frontal or temporal lobe FA, nor with behavior. This study demonstrates significant and selective relationships between ABRs, white matter connectivity, and higher-order cognitive ability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2789-2803
Number of pages15
JournalCerebral Cortex
Volume30
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 14 2020

Keywords

  • auditory brainstem response
  • diffusion MRI
  • fimbria-fornix
  • hippocampal commissure
  • presbycusis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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