CREB-binding protein levels in the rat hippocampus fail to predict chronological or cognitive aging

Inês Tomás Pereira, Christopher E. Coletta, Evelyn V. Perez, David H. Kim, Michela Gallagher, Ilya G. Goldberg, Peter R. Rapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Normal cognitive aging is associated with deficits in memory processes dependent on the hippocampus, along with large-scale changes in the hippocampal expression of many genes. Histone acetylation can broadly influence gene expression and has been recently linked to learning and memory. We hypothesized that CREB-binding protein (CBP), a key histone acetyltransferase, may contribute to memory decline in normal aging. Here, we quantified CBP protein levels in the hippocampus of young, aged unimpaired, and aged impaired rats, classified on the basis of spatial memory capacity documented in the Morris water maze. First, CBP-immunofluorescence was quantified across the principal cell layers of the hippocampus using both low and high resolution laser scanning imaging approaches. Second, digital images of CBP immunostaining were analyzed by a multipurpose classifier algorithm with validated sensitivity across many types of input materials. Finally, CBP protein levels in the principal subfields of the hippocampus were quantified by quantitative Western blotting. CBP levels were equivalent as a function of age and cognitive status in all analyses. The sensitivity of the techniques used was substantial, sufficient to reveal differences across the principal cell fields of the hippocampus, and to correctly classify images from young and aged animals independent of CBP immunoreactivity. The results are discussed in the context of recent evidence suggesting that CBP decreases may be most relevant in conditions of aging that, unlike normal cognitive aging, involve significant neuron loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)832-844
Number of pages13
JournalNeurobiology of aging
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2013


  • Epigenetics
  • Image analysis
  • Memory
  • Quantitative microscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Aging
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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