Memory Enzyme

Memory Enzyme

Author: ChemistryViews

Large or prolonged increases in plasma levels of glucocorticoid hormones, which are released by the adrenal gland in response to stress, cause impaired cognitive functioning. The enzyme, 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), is involved in activating these hormones and has been shown to be more active in the brain during ageing.

Brian Walker and colleagues, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, have shown that even short-term inhibition of 11β-HSD1 halts age-related cognitive decline in mice. The mice were given a selective 11β-HSD1 inhibitor and their spatial memory monitored by performance in the Y-maze. Increased memory function was seen in 24 month old, wild-type mice after ten days, suggesting this treatment might be capable of improving memory for the already elderly.


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