The Claustrum and Alzheimer's Disease

Annalena Venneri, Michael Shanks

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Evidence from neuropathological and in vivo neuroimaging studies suggests that the claustrum is important for at least some elements of the neuropsychological and neuropsychiatric symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD). The close relationship of the claustrum to cholinergic pathways, and its interconnection with mediotemporal structures, should make it come as no surprise that neuronal dysfunction in this structure might play a role in the symptoms of AD. More specifically, neurodegeneration in the claustrum, or disconnection, would impair its proposed integrative functions and, plausibly, result in the appearance of distinctive cognitive dysfunctions, such as the misperception and misinterpretation of reality characteristic of neuropsychiatric symptoms in AD. Evidence is presented that neurons within the claustrum support memory function (both at encoding and retrieval), naming abilities, and may be an important resource for cognitive reserve in ageing. Degeneration here, therefore, probably contributes to cognitive deficits in AD. This chapter reviews the available literature, emphasizing that the detection of claustral involvement is rarely highlighted and interpreted in neuroimaging studies of healthy controls and patients. Based on studies in AD, a speculative interpretation of the role of the claustrum in health and in disease states is outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Claustrum: Structural, Functional, and Clinical Neuroscience
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780124045668
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014


  • Amyloid
  • Cholinergic
  • Congruency
  • Memory
  • Naming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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