Sumary of Scientists reverse age-related memory loss in mice:
- Scientists at Cambridge and Leeds have successfully reversed age-related memory loss in mice and say their discovery could lead to the development of treatments to prevent memory loss in people as they age.
- In a study published today in Molecular Psychiatry, the team show that changes in the extracellular matrix of the brain — ‘scaffolding’ around nerve cells — lead to loss of memory with ageing, but that it is possible to reverse these using genetic treatments.
- As we age, the balance of these compounds changes, and as levels of chondroitin 6-sulphate decrease, so our ability to learn and form new memories changes, leading to age-related memory decline.
- Researchers at the University of Cambridge and University of Leeds investigated whether manipulating the chondroitin sulphate composition of the PNNs might restore neuroplasticity and alleviate age-related memory deficits.
- To do this, the team looked at 20-month old mice — considered very old — and using a suite of tests showed that the mice exhibited deficits in their memory compared to six-month old mice.
- The team treated the ageing mice using a ‘viral vector’, a virus capable of reconstituting the amount of 6-sulphate chondroitin sulphates to the PNNs and found that this completely restored memory in the older mice, to a level similar to that seen in the younger mice.
- The memory and ability to learn were restored to levels they would not have seen since they were much younger.
- ” To explore the role of chondroitin 6-sulphate in memory loss, the researchers bred mice that had been genetically-manipulated such that they were only able to produce low levels of the compound to mimic the changes of ageing.