Researchers from the University of Columbia, in the United States, have carried out a study that shows that the memory loss associated with age, both in humans and in mice, is related to the deficiency of a protein -RbAp48- in the hippocampus as a result of aging. This protein encodes a gene whose levels decrease by up to 50% in older brains compared to younger brains.
Based on this finding, the scientists genetically modified several mice to express the RbAp48 protein and thus increase the level of the affected gene, and found that the animals not only lost memory, but regained cognitive ability, which equaled that of younger mice.
The researchers studied eight brains from healthy people (without Alzheimer's or any other diagnosed dementia), young and old, who had donated this organ, and analyzed 17 genes present in the area of the brain where they form memories, observing that their levels varied depending on the age of the donor, and that they were significantly lower in the older brains.
By increasing the level of the affected gene, the mice not only stopped losing memory, but regained cognitive ability
They verified that this variation is also found in the brains of mice, animals that, as the authors of the work have explained, present a profile of memory deterioration associated with aging similar to that of humans.
In this regard, Scott Small, one of the researchers, points out that they have shown that RbAp48 levels decrease in both mice and humans as they age, and that finding a valid molecular target creates expectations about the possibility of developing a new drug. that serves to reverse the loss of memory that occurs as a result of aging.