Age-related decline in MRI volumes of temporal lobe gray matter but not hippocampus

Edith V. Sullivan, Laura Marsh, Daniel H. Mathalon, Kelvin O. Lim, Adolf Pfefferbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

239 Scopus citations


The effect of normal aging on the volume of the hippocampus and temporal cortex was assessed cross-sectionally with quantitative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) in 72 healthy men, spanning 5 decades of the adult age range (21 to 70 years). Neither the hippocampal nor cortical white matter volumes were significantly correlated with age. By contrast, left and right temporal lobe gray matter volumes, exclusive of the hippocampal measures, each decreased with age (p < 0.01). Volumes of temporal lobe sulcal CSF and the ventricular system (temporal horns and lateral and third ventricles) significantly increased with age. Measures of verbal and nonverbal working memory showed age-related declines and were related to enlargement of the three ventricular regions, which may be indicative of age-related atrophy of the adjacent cortex but not the hippocampus, at least up to age 70 years.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)591-606
Number of pages16
JournalNeurobiology of Aging
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1995

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are indebted to Stacie DeMent, who spent many hours scoring brain images; Greer Murphy, for providing neuroanatomical consultation; Barton Lane, for clinical readings of the MRI; Robert B. Zipurksy, for medical review of patients and controls; Brian Matsumoto, who performed image processing and helped to develop software for image analysis; Margaret J. Rosenbloom, for a help with the manuscript; Jody Rawles, Kenneth Chow, and Paula K. Shear, for assistance with data management and organization; Stacie DeMent, Linda Davis, and Jody Rawles for scanning and testing subjects. The research was supported by MH 30854, MH 40041, AA 05965, the Norris Foundation, the Meyer Foundation, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.


  • Aging
  • Gray matter
  • Hippocampus
  • Memory
  • Temporal lobes
  • Ventricles
  • White matter


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