Researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona claim to have reversed memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease mouse models, using gene therapy.

The team of researchers discovered the cellular mechanism involved in memory consolidation and were able to inject the hippocampus with a gene which causes the production of a protein blocked in patients with Alzheimer’s, Crtc1 (CREB regulated transcription coactivator-1). Once restored, the protein allows free passage to signals needed to activate the genes involved in long-term memory functioning.

“When the Crtc1 protein is altered, the genes responsible for the synapsis or connections between neurons in the hippocampus cannot be activated and the individual cannot perform memory tasks correctly”, explained Carlos Saura, head of the research team.

The study authors suggest that a cure for AD lies in developing pharmacological therapies, which can activate the Crtc1 protein thus preventing, slowing down or reverting cognitive changes.

Their research appears on the cover of the 23 April edition of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Source: Journal of Neuroscience