Long live the axon. Parallels between ageing and pathology from a presynaptic point of view

Federico W. Grillo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


All animals have to find the right balance between investing resources into their reproductive cycle and protecting their tissues from age-related damage. In higher order organisms the brain is particularly vulnerable to ageing, as the great majority of post-mitotic neurons are there to stay for an entire life. While ageing is unavoidable, it may progress at different rates in different individuals of the same species depending on a variety of genetic and environmental factors. Inevitably though, ageing results in a cognitive and sensory-motor decline caused by changes in neuronal structure and function. Besides normal ageing, age-related pathological conditions can develop in a sizeable proportion of the population. While this wide array of diseases are considerably different compared to physiological ageing, the two processes share many similarities and are likely to interact. At the subcellular level, two key structures are involved in brain ageing: axons and their synapses. Here I highlight how the ageing process affects these structures in normal and neurodegenerative states in different brain areas.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chemical Neuroanatomy
Early online date14 Dec 2015
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Dec 2015


  • Ageing
  • Aging
  • Axon
  • Bouton
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Synapse


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