Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Memory Processes Restored In Mice With Mental Impairment

Date:
October 7, 2007
Source:
University of California, Irvine
Summary:
Scientists have discovered how to reverse the learning and memory problems inherent in the most common form of mental impairment. The findings suggest the possibility of fragile X syndrome therapies that allow for increased learning and memory.

University of California, Irvine scientists have discovered how to reverse the learning and memory problems inherent in the most common form of mental impairment.

Neurobiologist Julie Lauterborn and her colleagues identified how a mutated gene linked to fragile X syndrome blocks brain cells from locking new memories into lasting ones. The gene – called fragile X mental retardation 1 (Fmr1) – is turned off in people with fragile X syndrome. This genetic mutation disrupts cellular processes that are needed for memory formation.

The researchers found that by adding brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BNDF) proteins to the hippocampus region of fragile X syndrome test mice, memory-forming capacities of the brain cells were completely restored. The findings suggest the possibility of fragile X syndrome therapies that allow for increased learning and memory.

“While this discovery doesn’t identify a cure for fragile X syndrome, it provides the scientific foundation for methods to treat its learning and memory deficits,” Lauterborn said.

In their study, the researchers reported how the loss of a functional Fmr1 gene impaired a process called long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus region of the brain where memories are created and stored. LTP describes a chemical process that literally strengthens a synapse. Synapses are the connection points between neurons where single cells are functionally coupled to other cells.

Since memories are believed to be formed and stored within synapses, LTP is widely considered one of the major mechanisms by which the brain learns and maintains memories. This LTP impairment limits the ability of cells in the hippocampus to modify the strength of synapses, thus blocking long-term memory formation.

Earlier this year, a UC Irvine research team led by neurobiologists Gary Lynch and Christine Gall showed the first images of LTP forming memories in brain cells and how neurodegenerative diseases can obstruct the LTP process. These studies were reported in the Journal of Neuroscience.

About fragile X syndrome

Fragile X syndrome is the most common inherited cause of mental impairment, according to the National Fragile X Foundation. The syndrome occurs in approximately one in 3,600 males and one in 4,000 to 6,000 females. It is caused by a change or mutation in a gene on the X chromosome.

The majority of males with fragile X syndrome have a significant intellectual disability, ranging from learning disabilities to severe mental retardation, and autism. Females often have milder intellectual disabilities. There is currently no treatment that improves cognitive function in this syndrome.

This new research is reported in the Journal of Neuroscience.

Lynch, Gall, Christopher Rex, Eniko Kramar, Lulu Y. Chen and Vijay Pandyarajan of UC Irvine worked on the study, which received support from the National Institutes of Health, the UC Industry-University Cooperative Research Program and a UC Discovery grant.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, Irvine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California, Irvine. "Memory Processes Restored In Mice With Mental Impairment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 October 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071005121913.htm>.
University of California, Irvine. (2007, October 7). Memory Processes Restored In Mice With Mental Impairment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071005121913.htm
University of California, Irvine. "Memory Processes Restored In Mice With Mental Impairment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/10/071005121913.htm (accessed September 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

President To Send 3,000 Military Personnel To Fight Ebola

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) President Obama is expected to send 3,000 troops to West Africa as part of the effort to contain Ebola's spread. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

EU Ministers and Experts Meet to Discuss Ebola Reponse

AFP (Sep. 15, 2014) The European Commission met on Monday to coordinate aid that the EU can offer to African countries affected by the Ebola outbreak. Duration: 00:58 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Despite The Risks, Antibiotics Still Overprescribed For Kids

Newsy (Sep. 15, 2014) A new study finds children are prescribed antibiotics twice as often as is necessary. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

      Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile: iPhone Android Web
      Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins