Navigation Links
Researchers find new mechanism behind the formation and maintenance of long-term memories
Date:3/3/2011

Researchers from Mount Sinai School of Medicine have found that lactate, a type of energy fuel in the brain, plays a critical role in the formation of long-term memory. These findings have important implications for common illnesses like Alzheimer's disease, other neurodegenerative disorders, aging-related memory impairment and diabetes. The research is published in the March 4th issue of the journal Cell.

The study is the first to closely evaluate the role of lactate and the effect of its transport from astrocytesa subtype of brain cellsto neurons in long-term memory in mammals, said lead researcher Cristina Alberini, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. "Little is known about the role of astrocytes in cognitive functions. The results further prove that astrocytes are much more actively involved in memory formation than previously thought, and that lactate is a promising target for investigating novel mechanisms that may be the cause of deficits of long-term memories." The data have potential significant implications in understanding and treating diseases like Alzheimer's, dementia, and diabetes, she said.

Researchers historically have believed that the brain cells called astrocytes only played a supportive role to neurons and had no major roles in higher brain functions. As a result, research on the development of long-term memory has largely focused on neurons. However, in recent years, data have shown that astrocytes are more involved than previously thought. Working with this evidence, Dr. Alberini and her team found that lactate released by astrocytes has a critical function in long-term memory development.

Astrocytes but not neurons contain glycogen, the storage form of glucose. Dr. Alberini's research supports a previous hypothesis that lactate produced by astrocytes provides fuel to neurons, and shows that lactate in the brain is elevated during long-term memory formation.

The researchers injected into the brains of rats an amnesic compound that blocks glycogenolysis (the breakdown of glycogen), and prevented the learning-dependent release of lactate. They did this both before and after "inhibitory avoidance learning," in which the rats learn to avoid a place where they previously had an unpleasant experience. They also injected some rats with both the amnesic compound and lactate.

The researchers found that the rats that were injected with the compound only, either before or after the unpleasant experience, had significantly impaired long-term memory. However, lactate together with the blocking compound served to "rescue" or reduce memory loss. Short-term memory and learning were not impacted by the presence of the amnestic compound or lactate.

Since it is known that glucose is an important energy source and can modulate memory retention, Dr. Alberini's team wanted to see if similar benefits were achieved by using glucose rather than lactate in the study. They injected glucose in amounts equicaloric to the lactate used in the first study into the brains of rats that also received the amnesic compound before inhibitory avoidance training. The researchers saw no rescue effect on long-term memory but after increasing the dose of glucose by three times, they saw a positivethough transientimpact.

"These results show that when a lot of energy is required, such as in long-term memory formation, glucose is not sufficient, or is less efficient, for long-term formation and maintenance," said Dr. Alberini. "Now that we know that lactate has this critical function, we can study why it does and why glucose does not have the same impact."

Dr. Alberini and her team plan to further study the role of lactate in long-term memory formation to find how it can be used as a potential target for neurodegenerative diseases. This study is supported by a grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.


'/>"/>

Contact: Mount Sinai Press Office
newsmedia@mssm.edu
212-241-9200
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. Researchers pinpoint genetic pathways involved in breast cancer
2. Penn researchers find new role for cancer protein p53
3. UCSF researchers uncover hormone pathway to fatty liver disease
4. Researchers pinpoint patients who receive greatest benefit from heart failure treatment
5. IDIBELL researchers discover a substance against the dark genome of cancer
6. Wayne State University researchers publish results settling multiple sclerosis debate
7. E-health must be a priority, researchers say
8. Mayo Clinic researchers confirm value of therapeutic hypothermia after cardiac arrest
9. Mayo researchers, Rochester educators, students to present at science conference
10. Researchers work at the frontiers of islet cell transplantation
11. Brain Appears to Be a Task Machine, Researchers Say
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Today Omega Institute, a leading destination for yoga ... and training opportunities in the growing field of yoga therapy . Yoga ... dealing with specific health issues—including injuries, illnesses, and temporary or chronic health conditions. , ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... Livonia, MI (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... honors Allstate has to bestow: the Dick McKenna Good Hands Legacy Award. McKenna ran ... commitment to others which continues to inspire all those who knew him. The award ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) today ... medical wellness offerings of Europe, a continent that pioneered the medical/wellness concept for the ... numerous pioneers in medical wellness, including Henri Chenot, Founder of the Chenot Group, which ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... Coral Gables, FL (PRWEB) , ... May 25, ... ... in its Cross Benefit Clearinghouse supporting the real time adjudication of medical service ... Urgent Care providers using their current medical claims management software. The TransactRx Cross ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... ... May 25, 2016 , ... Conrad Siegel Actuaries, delivering comprehensive ... Prescription Drug survey , an employee benefits survey measuring how Central ... December 2015, indicates that employers are turning to consumer directed health care and ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/24/2016)... Zealand , May 24, 2016 ... informatics solutions for the healthcare sector, has been named the ... Zealand Hi-Tech Awards 2016. Dr Bruce Davey ... acknowledgement for our team.  It,s really good to be recognised ... healthcare internationally. Our products are used in 35 countries around ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... KONG , May 24, 2016 ... stent de doble terapia del mundo, introduce catéteres ... arteriovenosa. OrbusNeich, una compañía global especializada ... las vidas, ha expandido su cartera incluyendo productos ... balón JADE™ y Scoreflex™ PTA son los dispositivos ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... 2016 According to a ... by Product (Wheelchair, Scooters, Medical Beds, Bathroom Safety, ... Care, Wound), Accessories (Lifting, Transfer) & by End ... by MarketsandMarkets, the patient handling equipment market is ... at a CAGR of 10.5% during the forecast ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: