Age-associated changes in rhesus CNS composition identified by MRI

Anders H. Andersen, Zhiming Zhang, Ming Zhang, Don M. Gash, Malcolm J. Avison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


Multispectral automated segmentation of MR images of the brains of 10 young (5-8 years), 10 middle-aged (12-17 years), and 11 old (21-27 years) female rhesus monkeys revealed age-associated changes in brain volume and composition. Total brain parenchymal volume (expressed as fraction of intracranial volume-%ICV) decreased at a linear rate of 0.3 ± 0.04% ICV/year. Up to age ~ 15 years, this loss was almost entirely due to gray matter loss, with a compensatory increase in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and possibly some white matter. Brain tissue composition, expressed as the gray matter/white matter volume ratio confirmed that gray matter loss exceeded white matter loss, but the rate of decline in the gray/white ratio began to slow after ~ 15 years. Comparison of these age-associated changes in rhesus brain with those in humans suggest that the brain aging in rhesus is a good model of human brain aging, but occurs ~ 3-fold faster.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-98
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - May 22 1999


  • Brain aging
  • Primate
  • Tissue segmentation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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