New Promising Therapeutic Approach for Cognitive Disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease

New Promising Therapeutic Approach for Cognitive Disorders, Alzheimer’s Disease
A study recently published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology revealed that the inhibition of a gene called phosphodiesterase-4B (PDE4B) in mice enhances the animals’ cognitive abilities. The work was conducted by an international team of researchers and is entitled “Specific Inhibition of Phosphodiesterase-4B Results in Anxiolysis and Facilitates Memory Acquisition”. Cognitive dysfunction is a central feature in dementia and psychiatric disorders. Enzymatic proteins called phosphodiesterases (PDE) are known to be involved in the learning, memory and higher cognitive functions of the brain. PDE4B in particular is important in the formation of the hippocampus, a brain region linked to memory and spatial navigation, considered a risk gene for psychiatric disorders. In order to better understand the role of PDE4B, researchers generated genetically engineered mice with a defective, not functional form of the gene. Researchers found that mice with depleted PDE4B activity had enhanced cognitive abilities in several learning and memory tests. The animals tended to learn faster, recall events for a longer period of time and were able to successfully solve complex exercises in comparison to normal mice. On the other hand, these unusually intelligent mice were less likely to feel anxiety or recall fear. In an experiment with cat urine, PDE4B-inhibited mice exhibited a decreased fear response in comparison to regular mice, suggesting that PDE4B inhibition might increase the animal’s risk-taking behavi
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