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Better Long-Term Memories in Rats With New Enzyme Discovery

by Tanya Thomas on March 7, 2011 at 9:22 AM
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 Better Long-Term Memories in Rats With New Enzyme Discovery

A new study has found that increased levels of a natural brain enzyme gives rats better recall of old remembrances.

A U.S.-Israeli team has found that they could make rats forget a range of old learned behaviours by blocking the protein called PKM-zeta in the brain.

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Rodents with too little PKM-zeta, for instance, didn't know to avoid liquids that had made them sick in the past.

"If you, indeed, can block the memory by blocking the enzyme, can you enhance the memory by enhancing the enzyme?" Discovery News quoted Yadin Dudai, a neurobiologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, as saying.
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The rodents didn't instantly recall where they left that cheese, though. Researchers trained the rats to associate certain tastes-like sugary or salty-with gross feelings akin to mild food poisoning. Rats that received the enzyme boost remembered to steer clear of those tastes much better than control rats did.

Also, the taste training had taken place days before the injections, so the enzymes gave a kick to memorable experiences.

The find may have implications for memory-related medicine research. either to jog good memories or-in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder, say-help people forget bad ones, Glanzman said.

However, he said there's still a long way to go and more studies are required in order to understand better how the enzyme works.

"You have to know where the memory is in the brain. We don't have a very good way to do that right now.

"There's a reason why the brain keeps memory under tight regulation."

The study appears in the March 5 Science.

Source: ANI
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