MIT-led team IDs gene key to Alzheimer’s-like reversal

GenesCAMBRIDGE, Mass. — A team led by researchers at MIT’s Picower Institute for Learning and Memory has now pinpointed the exact gene responsible for a 2007 breakthrough in which mice with symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease regained long-term memories and the ability to learn.

In the latest development, reported in the May 7 issue of Nature, Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience, and colleagues found that drugs that work on the gene HDAC2 reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s and boost cognitive function in mice.

"This gene and its protein are promising targets for treating memory impairment," Tsai said. "HDAC2 regulates the expression of a plethora of genes implicated in plasticity — the brain’s ability to change in response to experience — and memory formation.

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