Researchers have discovered that transgenic mice previously shown to outperform their normal counterparts on learning and memory tests1 are also more sensitive to chronic pain.2 This finding suggests that memory formation and pain sensation might share components of a common physiological pathway in mice, and therefore, possibly in other vertebrates such as humans.

These "Doogie" mice (scientifically manipulated mice that make more than the usual amount of the NR2B subunit of the NMDA [N-methyl-D-aspartate] receptor) had better than average performances on mouse intelligence tests. By providing additional and dramatic evidence connecting NMDA receptors and learning in mice, this study generated excitement about the possible implications of these results for human medicine; for example, understanding the relationship between the NR2B subunit and memory formation might lead to the development of more specific, and therefore better, drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Min Zhou, assistant...

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