Researchers find novel memory-enhancing mechanism in brain

Dec 14, 2010
brain

(PhysOrg.com) -- UC Irvine researchers have identified a novel mechanism in the brain that boosts memory.

In collaboration with scientists at Germany's University of Munster, the UCI team found that a small protein called neuropeptide S can strengthen and prolong memories of everything from negative events to simple objects.

According to study leader Rainer Reinscheid, UCI associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences, the discovery could provide important clues about how the brain stores memories and also lead to new treatments for Alzheimer's disease, and other cognitive impairments.

"Additionally, it may help us better understand post-traumatic stress disorder, which involves exaggerated memories of traumatic events," he said.

In tests on mice, the researchers observed that if neuropeptide S receptors in the were activated immediately after a , it could be recalled for much longer and with much greater intensity.

This memory enhancement lasted up to a week, Reinscheid said, but when NPS receptor activation was disrupted, the mice didn't remember events as strongly – if at all – when tested just a day or two later.

Study results, which appear in a Dec. 8 advance online article for the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, are in accordance with Reinscheid's previous findings that NPS causes wakefulness and has a calming effect.

"It appears that the combination of increased alertness and reduced anxiety produced by NPS prepares the animals to learn much better," he said. " is remarkably improved after activation of their NPS system, and the effects are long-lasting, independent of content."

Explore further: Study links enzyme to autistic behaviors

Provided by University of California - Irvine

4.6 /5 (15 votes)

Related Stories

Traumatic response to bad memories can be minimized

Jul 30, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- UC Irvine researchers have identified the brain mechanism that switches off traumatic feelings associated with bad memories, a finding that could lead to the development of drugs to treat panic disorders.

Study finds how brain remembers single events

Mar 18, 2009

Single events account for many of our most vivid memories - a marriage proposal, a wedding toast, a baby's birth. Until a recent UC Irvine discovery, however, scientists knew little about what happens inside the brain that ...

Brain's memory storing is studied

Mar 01, 2006

University of California-Irvine scientists have identified the neural activity that occurs when the brain "sets the stage" for retaining a memory.

Recommended for you

Study links enzyme to autistic behaviors

21 hours ago

Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is a genetic disorder that causes obsessive-compulsive and repetitive behaviors, and other behaviors on the autistic spectrum, as well as cognitive deficits. It is the most common ...

A new cause of mental disease?

Jul 23, 2014

Astrocytes, the cells that make the background of the brain and support neurons, might be behind mental disorders such as depression and schizophrenia, according to new research by a Portuguese team from ...

Molecular basis of age-related memory loss explained

Jul 22, 2014

From telephone numbers to foreign vocabulary, our brains hold a seemingly endless supply of information. However, as we are getting older, our ability to learn and remember new things declines. A team of ...

The neurochemistry of addiction

Jul 22, 2014

We've all heard the term "addictive personality," and many of us know individuals who are consistently more likely to take the extra drink or pill that puts them over the edge. But the specific balance of ...

User comments : 6

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dirk_bruere
2 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2010
One for students...
trekgeek1
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2010
New Monster energy with neuropeptide S!!!! Seize the beast and your finals!!!!
knowitall599
not rated yet Dec 14, 2010
awesome. Go pharmacists.
TAz00
5 / 5 (2) Dec 15, 2010
How they resist trying it on themselves, baffles me.
patnclaire
1 / 5 (1) Dec 15, 2010
How were the NPS receptors stimulated? Chemically or Electrically?
Milou
not rated yet Dec 15, 2010
Should have used it on ex-President Reagan with his famous "I don't seem to remember" trick.