Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Gene variant leads to better memory via increased brain activation

Carriers of the so-called KIBRA T allele have better memories than those who don’t have this gene variant. This means we can reject the theory that the brain of a non-bearer compensates for this. This is shown by researchers from Umeå University in The Journal of Neuroscience.
In this study, KIBRA was first examined in relation to the memory performance of a group of 2,230 subjects. Just as in previous studies, carriers of the KIBRA T allele performed better than non-carriers. Then the brain activity of 83 subjects was studied with the help of fMRI. In contrast with the earlier study, higher activation of the hippocampus was observed in T carriers than in non-carriers.

Thanks to the large number of subjects in the study, the effect could also be studied in a group in which T carriers performed better (83 individuals) and in a subgroup in which the memory performance was equal between T carriers and non-carriers (63). This is especially important as differences in memory performance are regarded to be of significance in how to interpret differences in brain activation. However, in both cases, T carriers had increased hippocampus activation, which means that the effect of KIBRA on brain activation as such is not dependent on the difference in memory performance but is of importance for memory performance.

The conclusion must be that there is no support for the previous theory regarding compensatory mechanisms in non-carriers of the T allele. Instead the new findings indicate that the KIBRA gene plays a role in memory by improving the hippocampus function in carriers of the T allele.

In a study published in Science in 2006 the entire genome was screened (in a so-called Genome-wide association study) for genetic variations of importance to episodic memory (Papassotiropoulos et al., 2006). Individuals who carried the T allele (CT or TT genotype) in a common C/T polymorphism in the KIBRA gene had better episodic memory than non-carriers of the T allele (CC genotype). In the same study, brain activity was examined during a memory task in 30 subjects with the help of a magnetic camera (fMRI). It was found that non-carriers of the T allele had greater activation of the hippocampus, an area in the brain that is important for episodic memory, than did T carriers.

Since the groups had the same memory performance, the results were explained as indicating that non-carriers needed to compensate for their poorer memory function with increased activation of the hippocampus in order to reach the same level of performance as T carriers. Increased activation in the hippocampus is strongly associated with positive aspects of the memory function, and with other genes related to memory the opposite has been observed: increased hippocampus activation in carriers of a gene variant that is associated with better memory (e.g. Hariri et al., 2003). In those cases a reasonable explanation has been that the gene is important for memory via a favorable effect on the hippocampus function.

Improved memory performance in carriers of the KIBRA T allele has been verified in several subsequent studies (e.g. Bates et. al., 2009, Preuschhof et al., 2010), but since the 2006 Science article, this is the first to study KIBRA in relation to brain activation.

Reference: Karolina Kauppi, Lars-Göran Nilsson, Rolf Adolfsson, Elias Eriksson, and Lars Nyberg: KIBRA Polymorphism Is Related to Enhanced Memory and Elevated Hippocampal Processing

For more information, please contact Karolina Kauppi , phone: +46 (0)90-786 51 86, ext. 13, mobile: +46 (0)730-43 38 26

Weitere Informationen:
The Journal of Neuroscience, October 5, 2011 • 31(40):14218 – 14222 Read more about KIBRA Read more about fMRI Read more about hippocampus

Bertil Born | idw
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht ‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans
24.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für marine Mikrobiologie

nachricht Calcium Induces Chronic Lung Infections
24.10.2016 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>