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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Longitudinal trajectories of hippocampal and prefrontal contributions to episodic retrieval: Effects of age and puberty.

  • Author(s): Selmeczy, Diana
  • Fandakova, Yana
  • Grimm, Kevin J
  • Bunge, Silvia A
  • Ghetti, Simona
  • et al.

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The current study investigated longitudinal change in hippocampal and prefrontal contribution to episodic retrieval. Functional neuroimaging data were collected during an item-context association memory task for children between the ages of 8 and 14 with individuals scanned 1-3 times over the course of 0.75-3.7 years (Timepoint 1 N = 90; Timepoint 2 N = 83, Timepoint 3 N = 75). We investigated developmental changes in functional activation associated with episodic retrieval (correct item-context > incorrect item-context contrast) and asked whether pubertal changes contributed to developmental changes in pattern of activation. Non-linear developmental trajectories were observed. In the hippocampus, activation decreased with age during childhood and then increased into early adolescence. In the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, activation was largely absent initially, but quickly accelerated over time. Independent of age, changes in pubertal status additionally predicted increases in item-context activation in initially older children, and decreases in initially younger children across both regions and two indicators of puberty: the Pubertal Development Scale and salivary testosterone. These findings suggest that changes in both age and pubertal status uniquely contribute to memory-related activation, and the timing of pubertal onset may play an important role in the neural mechanisms supporting memory retrieval.

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