Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Single genetic defect produces specific cognitive deficit in mice

07.09.2006
Researchers have found that, in mice, producing a single genetic defect in a molecule that "reloads" neurons to trigger one another using the neurotransmitter acetylcholine impairs the mice's ability to recognize objects or other mice.

The researchers, Marco Prado, Marc Caron, Vania Prado, and their colleagues, said their findings reveal a critical role in central nervous system (CNS) function for the component of the reloading machinery, called an acetylcholine transporter, that they knocked out.

They also said their findings suggest that the mouse model will be useful in understanding how defects in neurons that use acetylcholine to trigger one another contribute to cognitive decline in such disorders as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and aging. The researchers published their finding in the September 7, 2006, issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

To explore the role of the acetylcholine transporter, the researchers genetically modified mice to either completely lack the transporter gene or to have reduced levels of it. Such transporters normally retrieve acetylcholine that one neuron has used to trigger another and transport it to storage sacs called vesicles that are the reservoir for neurotransmitter for subsequent use. The researchers found that such transporter-deficient mice were less able to fill such vesicles with acetylcholine.

In behavioral tests, the researchers found that the mice with lower levels of the transporter were less able to learn to hang on to a rotating rod than normal mice. Mice completely lacking the transporter were totally unable to manage the task because they lacked physical endurance. Thus, wrote the researchers, those mice might be useful models for studying the effects of reduced acetylcholine release in certain neuromuscular disorders.

Both normal mice and those with reduced transporter were equally able to learn and remember to avoid a mild shock. However, the reduced-transporter mice showed deficits in object recognition--significantly less able to remember that they had encountered specific-shaped plastic blocks before. The altered mice also showed less memory of "intruder" mice placed in their cages--evidence of reduced social recognition.

Significantly, the researchers found that when they used a drug to enhance acetylcholine in the transporter-deficient mice, those mice showed improved performance on social recognition tests, implying that the deficit in social recognition was caused by a reduction in "cholinergic tone."

Prado, Caron, and their colleagues concluded that "Our observations support the notion that reduced cholinergic tone in AD mouse models can indeed cause deficits in social memory. However, based on somewhat similar impairments found in the object and social recognition tasks, it is possible that mild cholinergic deficits may cause a more general memory deficit for recognizing previously learned complex cues, whether social or not. Future detailed investigations will be necessary to further define the specific type of cognitive processing affected by cholinergic deficits in these mutants.

"Such studies in mouse models of reduced cholinergic tone may be particularly informative for understanding the contribution of cholinergic decline to specific behavioral alterations observed in certain pathologies of the CNS and may even be helpful in understanding physiological aging," wrote the researchers.

Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cell.com
http://www.neuron.org

Further reports about: Neuron Recognition acetylcholine cholinergic cognitive deficit

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The body's street sweepers
18.12.2017 | Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

nachricht Life on the edge prepares plants for climate change
18.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Entwicklungsbiologie

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Error-free into the Quantum Computer Age

A study carried out by an international team of researchers and published in the journal Physical Review X shows that ion-trap technologies available today are suitable for building large-scale quantum computers. The scientists introduce trapped-ion quantum error correction protocols that detect and correct processing errors.

In order to reach their full potential, today’s quantum computer prototypes have to meet specific criteria: First, they have to be made bigger, which means...

Im Focus: Search for planets with Carmenes successful

German and Spanish researchers plan, build and use modern spectrograph

Since 2016, German and Spanish researchers, among them scientists from the University of Göttingen, have been hunting for exoplanets with the “Carmenes”...

Im Focus: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

The body's street sweepers

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Fast flowing heat in layered material heterostructures

18.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

Life on the edge prepares plants for climate change

18.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>