Alzheimer’s Memory Loss Dramatically Reversed


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Mouse study reverses memory
loss in mice with Alzheimer’s.
Memory loss caused by
Alzheimer’s disease has been reversed in mice, reports a new study.
Alzheimer’s disease — the most
common form of dementia –results from both genetic and environmental factors,
and is currently untreatable.
Scientists have discovered,
though, that the disease interferes with electrical signalling in part of the
brain responsible for memory.
Using techniques based on
epigenetics, the researchers were able to reverse the memory loss.
Epigenetics involves how
instructions contained in DNA are expressed in cells.
Professor
Zhen Yan, the study’s first author, said:
“We have not only identified
the epigenetic factors that contribute to the memory loss, we also found ways
to temporarily reverse them in an animal model of AD.”
The scientists found that
Alzheimer’s caused neurons in the frontal cortex to gradually lose glutamate
receptors.
By inhibiting an enzyme, they
were able to restore memory in mice.
Professor
Yan said:
“When we gave the Alzheimer’s
animals this enzyme inhibitor, we saw the rescue of cognitive function
confirmed through evaluations of recognition memory, spatial memory and working
memory. We were quite surprised to see such dramatic cognitive improvement. At
the same time, we saw the recovery of glutamate receptor expression and
function in the frontal cortex.”
While the drug only worked on
the mice for one week, it is hoped the method can be refined to make it more
powerful.
Epigenetics is powerful
because it can target the effects of more than one gene, said Professor Yan:
“An epigenetic approach can
correct a network of genes, which will collectively restore cells to their
normal state and restore the complex brain function. We have provided evidence
showing that abnormal epigenetic regulation of glutamate receptor expression
and function did contribute to cognitive decline in Alzheimer’s disease. If
many of the dysregulated genes in AD are normalized by targeting specific
epigenetic enzymes, it will be possible to restore cognitive function and
behavior.”
The study was published in the
journal Brain (Yan et al., 2019).
SOURCE:
PSYBLOG
Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.