Enzyme Found Can Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease and Restore Memory in Mice

Enzyme Found Can Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease and Restore Memory in Mice

Researchers from New York say that they have discovered an enzyme that thwarts some of the memory problems associated with Alzheimer’s disease. The enzyme, called Uch-L1 is found in lower amounts in Alzheimer’s patients.

Dr. Bing Gong and colleagues at Columbia University say that tests on shows promise. They injected the enzyme into the mice and found the mice developed new memories.

They placed special transgenic mice with Alzheimer's disease in a cage where they were exposed to a very mild shock from the cage floor. During the second visit to the cage, they noticed that the mice that were injected with the enzyme stayed still just like the normal mice without Alzheimer’s disease. The mice remembered that if they move around they got shocked. Untreated mice forgot the previous experience and moved around the cage upon their second visit.

Amazingly, they say that the enzyme also appears to repair the synapse function of the mice. One author of the study, Michael Shelanski says “While amyloid beta is certainly a key player in Alzheimer's disease, and efforts to reduce it remain a worthy goal, our results show that, even in the presence of the plaque, damage to memory can be reversed."

Dr Ottavio Arancio, an author on the paper from Columbia University's Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and Aging, said "We injected the mice with this enzyme, and we found we were restoring their memories."

They say it will take some time to develop a treatment for humans, but the findings are promising. Their work is published in the journal Cell.

By Marsha Quinn



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