Aug, 2021 - By WMR
A study conducted by a team of researchers from Cambridge and Leeds have revealed that memory loss in people due to age can be prevented using genetic treatments.
The researchers from Cambridge and Leeds have considered 20-month old mice for their study. They performed various tests and observed that 20-month old mice showed deficits in their memory in comparison to six month old mice. The team revealed that the changes in the extracellular matrix of the brain can result into memory loss with ageing. In this context, it is important to note that perineuronal nets (PNNs) are responsible for the brain’s ability to learn, adapt, and make memories. PNNs are extracellular matrix structures that serve multiple functions, including regulating synaptic plasticity. They comprise compounds such as chondroitin sulphates. Chondroitin 4-sulphate is responsible for inhibiting neuroplasticity and chondroitin 6-sulphate promote neuroplasticity. However, the level of these compounds changes with age which effect the brain’s ability to learn and form memories, resulting into age-related memory decline. The researchers studied chondroitin sulphate and its composition of the PNNs and examined whether manipulating these can restore neuroplasticity and prevent memory deficits with aging. The researchers during different tests tried to find whether the mice taken for study were able to recognize an object. They measured the time taken by mice in exploring each object and checked whether mice could recall the object from the previous task. The researchers found that the older mice fail to recognize the object. They used viral vector treatment for ageing mice and observed that the treatment helped the older mice in restoring memory. Viral vector is a virus responsible for restoring the amount of chondroitin 6-sulphate to the PNNs.
The researchers concluded that using viral vector the levels of chondroitin 6-sulphate increased which helped in restoring the memory of mice and even restored the plasticity levels similar to that of healthy mice. The researchers are now examining these factors in animal models to find therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease.