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How is long-term memory formed?

Long-term memory is controlled by protein synthesis in suppressor cells.

Canadian researchers have found that during memory formation, at least two special processes occur in two networks of the brain, the excitatory network and the inhibitory network. Excitatory neurons are involved in creating the imprint of memories in the brain, and inhibitory neurons block noise and enable long-term learning.

Each nervous system can influence the control of long-term memory. This study answered the long-standing question of which neural subtype is involved in memory formation, giving scientists new direction in identifying new targets in the treatment of neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. and autism.

Short-term memory (only lasts a few hours) how does it turn into long-term memory (can last for several years)? For decades, researchers have known that this process, called memory formation, requires the synthesis of new proteins in brain cells. But until now, no one knew which neuron subtype was involved in this process.

To determine which neural networks play a critical role in memory formation, the researchers used genetically engineered mice to manipulate the eIF2α molecular pathway in specific types of neurons. This pathway has been shown to play a key role in controlling long-term memory formation and coordinating protein synthesis in nerve cells. In addition, previous studies have also identified eIF2α as a backbone in neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases.

Both the excitatory system and the inhibitory system play a role in the formation of long-term memory

Professor Kobi Rosenblum, who took part in the study, said his team found that stimulating protein synthesis via eIF2α in excitatory neurons in the hippocampus was sufficient to enhance memory protein formation and alter synapses, which are the points of communication. between neurons.

Interestingly, however, we also found that stimulation of protein synthesis via eIF2α in a specific class of inhibitory neurons, i.e. somatostatin-mediated neurons, was also sufficient to enhance long memory. term by perfecting neural plasticity, ”said Dr. Jean-Claude. Lacaille, co-author of the study.

Until now, eIF2α was thought to be the metabolic pathway that induces memory through excitatory neurons, but thanks to this study, scientists have now identified new factors, inhibitory neurons, which play an equally important role in long-term memory formation.

These discoveries have made it possible to identify protein synthesis in inhibitory neurons and in particular cells of somatostatin, which is a new target in the search for therapeutic interventions for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and autism. Scientists hope that the results of this study will help find preventive measures as well as cures for people with disorders related to memory loss.


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