Natural protein could help dementia sufferers

27 August 2014

A new study, published in Nature Communications, has provided the first evidence that the absence of a protein, which is key in the brain's memory process, could be linked to the onset of dementia.

Researchers at the University of Warwick found a lack of the protein MK2/3 promotes structural and physiological changes to cells in the nervous system. These alterations have a significant correlation with early signs of dementia, including restricted learning and memory formation capabilities.

The team found that an absence of MK2/3 did not prevent memories being formed, but did prevent them from being altered, with the researchers saying this link needs further investigation.

The study found that a change, which is triggered by a lack of MK2/3, limits the neurons' ability to communicate between each other, which can lead to changes in a person's ability to acquire new memories.

“By demonstrating for the first time that the MK2/3 protein, which is essential for neuron communication, is required to fine-tune memory formation this study provides new insight into how molecular mechanisms regulate cognition,” said Dr Correa, lead researcher and author.

Posted by Philip Briggs​

 

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