A protein reinforces memory and prevents forgetfulness

An international research study has shown that, in animal models, type 2 insulin (IGF-II) growth factor reinforces memory and prevents forgetfulness. The results of the work, developed at the Mount Sinai Hospital Medical School in New York, in which Ana Garcia-Osta, researcher at the Centro de Investigacion Medica Aplicada (CIMA) of the University of Navarra took part, was published in the latest issue of Nature.

The article describes the role played by IGF-II in the processes of consolidation of long-term memory. "Through microarray studies (gene identification) we see that the gene that codes this protein increases in the brain of rats exposed to a learning session. On administering IGF-II locally into the hypocampus (the part of the brain where memory is acquired and consolidated) of these animals, we observe that the animal undergoes reinforcement of memory and prevention of forgetfulness", explained the CIMA researcher.

Also, the blocking of the expression of the hypocampus IGF-II gene impedes the formation of new memories, showing that that it is an essential molecule for memory to form and be consolidated. "We believe that the IGF-II could be a new target for the design of therapies which enhance the cognitive function".

After obtaining these results, Dr. Ana Garcia-Osta has been working at CIMA on a research project to see if the administration of IGF-II is capable of reducing dementia in an animal model with Alzheimer's disease.

Source: Elhuyar Fundazioa