Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ETH Researchers Decipher Learning Processes in Mice

29.08.2002


Protein phosphatase 1 (PP1) belongs to a group of molecules that on the basis of earlier studies has been proposed to be a controlling factor for learning and memory. The ETH researchers produced genetically modified mice in which the activity of PP1 can be reduced at will. These animals were subjected to various learning and memory tests in one of which, the mice had to learn about various objects in a box. For this, they were trained on different schedules: without any interruption during learning or with short or long interruptions. To study how well the mice could remember the objects after learning, they were placed back into the box and one of the objects had been replaced with a novel object. If the animals explored the novel object significantly longer than the others, this was an indication that the mice remembered the familiar objects.



Protein Phosphatase 1 Makes Learning More Difficult

The tests showed that the mice with reduced PP1 and with short interruptions in the learning process achieved optimal performance that could be reached by control animals only with long interruptions. Isabelle Mansuy’s interpretation of these results is that “PP1 represents a necessary controlling factor, that is required to avoid saturation of the brain. Because the capacity of the brain is limited, it needs an active protective system”.


In order to determine whether PP1 has a general effect in learning, the research group carried out another set of experiments using a test that challenges spatial orientation. In a tub of water, the mice had to find a platform located just below the surface of the water which was made opaque. The mice with reduced PP1 needed fewer training trials to learn the platform position than the control animals.

Promoting Forgetting

Then the mice’s memory was tested. Two weeks after training the mice with normal PP1 function found the platform less easily than immediately after training. But those whose PP1 function was suppressed remembered its position surprisingly well and up to eight weeks after learning. This speaks for the fact that PP1 not only makes learning more difficult, but it also actively promotes forgetting. This effect appears to be prominent in aged individuals as those with less PP1 had improved performance. The data suggest that the suppression of PP1 may protect against memory decline. “The tests with the aged mice show that cognitive abilities may be rescued”, comments Isabelle Mansuy. This is especially interesting since it is known that aged mice have more PP1. The findings therefore indicate that learning difficulties and decline of memory in old age are not necessarily unavoidable, irreversible processes.

Prof. Isabelle Mansuy | alfa
Further information:
http://www.cc.ethz.ch/medieninfo

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts
18.07.2018 | New York Stem Cell Foundation

nachricht Pollen taxi for bacteria
18.07.2018 | Technische Universität München

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

Im Focus: Chemical reactions in the light of ultrashort X-ray pulses from free-electron lasers

Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.

Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

NYSCF researchers develop novel bioengineering technique for personalized bone grafts

18.07.2018 | Life Sciences

Machine-learning predicted a superhard and high-energy-density tungsten nitride

18.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

Why might reading make myopic?

18.07.2018 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>