The marmoset as an important primate model for longitudinal studies of neurocognitive aging

Emily S. Rothwell, Carmen Freire-Cobo, Merina Varghese, Mélise Edwards, William G.M. Janssen, Patrick R. Hof, Agnès Lacreuse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Age-related cognitive decline has been extensively studied in humans, but the majority of research designs are cross-sectional and compare across younger and older adults. Longitudinal studies are necessary to capture variability in cognitive aging trajectories but are difficult to carry out in humans and long-lived nonhuman primates. Marmosets are an ideal primate model for neurocognitive aging as their naturally short lifespan facilitates longitudinal designs. In a longitudinal study of marmosets tested on reversal learning starting in middle-age, we found that, on average, the group of marmosets declined in cognitive performance around 8 years of age. However, we found highly variable patterns of cognitive aging trajectories across individuals. Preliminary analyses of brain tissues from this cohort also show highly variable degrees of neuropathology. Future work will tie together behavioral trajectories with brain pathology and provide a window into the factors that predict age-related cognitive decline.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere23271
JournalAmerican Journal of Primatology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2021


  • aging
  • longitudinal study
  • marmoset
  • neuropathology
  • reversal learning


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