A specific epigenetic switch appears to cause age-related memory loss in mice, suggesting this dysregulation could eventually serve as a biomarker for dementia, according to this week's Science. linkurl:Andre Fischer;http://www.uni-goettingen.de/de/57944.html at the linkurl:European Neuroscience Institute in Goettingen, Germany;http://www.eni.gwdg.de/ and his team found that older and younger mice exhibited marked differences in one type of epigenetic change to a specific region of one histone, leading to a suite of differences in gene expression between the two groups.
Histone deacetylase,HDAC
Image: Wikimedia commons,
More importantly, this epigenetic change also appeared to impair learning in the older mice. Indeed, when the scientists injected older mice with a compound that restored the epigenetic pattern to roughly that of younger mice, the older mice learned tasks more easily, and showed similar gene expression to younger mice. The findings "identified an important epigenetic 'switch' that regulates genome-environment interactions which are important for learning and...
The ScientistS. Peleg et al., " Altered histone acetylation is associated with age-dependent memory impairment in mice," Science:328:753-6, 2010.

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