Modification of an enzyme may improve cognitive abilities in laboratory mice.A scientific study conducted in laboratory mice has shown how cognitive ability can be improved by making a modification in the activity of an enzyme that we have in many of the organs of our body. It is the enzyme phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B).
This study has shown that learning and memory capacities can be greatly improved and could serve as a basis for the investigation of new treatments for age-related cognitive impairment in order to treat diseases such as schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s , among others .
After having done different tests with the mice they saw that those who had been modified the enzyme responded much better to the tests, that is to say, they learned much faster what they had to do, they solved the exercises that were raised to them much before the other mice and remembered everything.
For example, one of the tests was a space from which they had to leave. They were told how they had to do it by guiding them and then they were allowed to do the tour alone. Normal mice were lost or delayed in making the circuit and those who had the modified enzyme overcame it in less time and much more direct. And something surprising is that these mice despite having more memory remember less the bad times.
Of course, it must be said that they are still experiments done only on animals and not on humans so there is still a long way to go. Still, it is a hope because humans also present this enzyme.
A part of cognitive illnesses would be a great finding for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatments because it reduces the memory of fear situations and reduces anxiety by modifying PDE4B. That is deduced by the analyzes and because the modified mice were much longer in open spaces than the others. That is, they were not afraid; they did not hide in the dark. Moreover, mice tend to be elusive, especially of other living beings, and these were not frightened.
The truth is that this can be a good thing but not for mice. They need this fear to get away and defend themselves from predators. But it is something that must work especially for the field of psychology.
Dr Steve Clapcote, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Biomedical Sciences in Leeds, said: “Cognitive impairments are poorly treated, so I’m thrilled that our work with mice has been able to identify phosphodiesterase-4B as a promising target for new potential treatments.” Researchers are now working on the development of drugs that specifically inhibit PDE4B. And it is hoped that more trials can be made soon to move to clinical trials in humans.
“There is currently a lack of effective treatments for dementia and understanding the effect of genes can be a key first step on the road to developing new drugs. With so many people affected by dementia, it is important that research exists on a wide range of treatment approaches to have the best chance of helping people before. “