Moderate Sunlight Exposure Improves Learning and Memory

by Colleen Fleiss on  May 27, 2018 at 9:22 PM Research News
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A new sunlight-activated glutamate biosynthetic pathway has been uncovered in the mouse brain. Such pathway may fundamentally contribute to our daily neurobehaviors such as mood, learning and cognition, said USTC researchers.
Moderate Sunlight Exposure Improves Learning and Memory
Moderate Sunlight Exposure Improves Learning and Memory

The research article entitled "Moderate UV Exposure Enhances Learning and Memory by Promoting a Novel Glutamate Biosynthetic Pathway in the Brain" is published in Cell.

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According to Professor XIONG Wei from the School of Life Sciences, the ultraviolet (UV) light enhanced learning capacity has been observed on mice. "The mice without UV exposure typically require 6 rounds of training to adapt to the rotating rod," says Professor XIONG Wei, "however for the UV-exposed mice, they become smarter and only require 4 rounds of training."

The mechanism is examined using interdisciplinary techniques. It is revealed that the moderate UV exposure elevates the blood urocanic acid (UCA), which is later converted to glutamate (GLU) in the brain cells. The as-synthesized GLU contributes to the enhanced learning capacity of mice. In addition to learning, such UV-triggered GLU synthesis could contribute to more sunlight-induced neurobehavioral changes such as memory and mood.

Source: Eurekalert

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