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 October 23, 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 October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

More People Diagnosed With TB In 2013, But There's Good News

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) The World Health Organizations says TB numbers rose in 2013, but it's partly due to better detection and more survivors. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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