Recovery of learning and memory is associated with chromatin remodelling

Armen Hareyan's picture
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Recovery of long-term memories in patients with dementia

Neurodegenerative diseases of the central nervous system are often associated with impaired learning and memory, eventually leading to dementia. An important aspect in pre-clinical research is the exploration of strategies to re-establish learning ability and access to long-term memories.

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By using a mouse model that allows temporally and spatially restricted induction of neuronal loss, we show here that environmental enrichment reinstated learning behaviour and re-established access to long-term memories after significant brain atrophy and neuronal loss had already occurred. Environmental enrichment correlated with chromatin modifications (increased histone-tail acetylation).

Moreover, increased histone acetylation by inhibitors of histone deacetylases induced sprouting of dendrites, an increased number of synapses, and reinstated learning behaviour and access to long-term memories.

These data suggest that inhibition of histone deacetylases might be a suitable therapeutic avenue for neurodegenerative diseases associated with learning and memory impairment, and raises the possibility of recovery of long-term memories in patients with dementia.

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