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Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience

May 2019, Vol. 31, No. 5, Pages 711-729
(doi: 10.1162/jocn_a_01385)
© 2019 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Object-in-place Memory Predicted by Anterolateral Entorhinal Cortex and Parahippocampal Cortex Volume in Older Adults
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The lateral portion of the entorhinal cortex is one of the first brain regions affected by tau pathology, an important biomarker for Alzheimer disease. Improving our understanding of this region's cognitive role may help identify better cognitive tests for early detection of Alzheimer disease. Based on its functional connections, we tested the idea that the human anterolateral entorhinal cortex (alERC) may play a role in integrating spatial information into object representations. We recently demonstrated that the volume of the alERC was related to processing the spatial relationships of the features within an object [Yeung, L. K., Olsen, R. K., Bild-Enkin, H. E. P., D'Angelo, M. C., Kacollja, A., McQuiggan, D. A., et al. Anterolateral entorhinal cortex volume predicted by altered intra-item configural processing. Journal of Neuroscience, 37, 5527–5538, 2017]. In this study, we investigated whether the human alERC might also play a role in processing the spatial relationships between an object and its environment using an eye-tracking task that assessed visual fixations to a critical object within a scene. Guided by rodent work, we measured both object-in-place memory, the association of an object with a given context [Wilson, D. I., Langston, R. F., Schlesiger, M. I., Wagner, M., Watanabe, S., & Ainge, J. A. Lateral entorhinal cortex is critical for novel object-context recognition. Hippocampus, 23, 352–366, 2013], and object-trace memory, the memory for the former location of objects [Tsao, A., Moser, M. B., & Moser, E. I. Traces of experience in the lateral entorhinal cortex. Current Biology, 23, 399–405, 2013]. In a group of older adults with varying stages of brain atrophy and cognitive decline, we found that the volume of the alERC and the volume of the parahippocampal cortex selectively predicted object-in-place memory, but not object-trace memory. These results provide support for the notion that the alERC may integrate spatial information into object representations.