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Brown research reveals key insight into memory-making

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Based on those findings, the Brown and Duke team investigated another question: What if recycling endosomes carried more than AMPA receptors? In additional experiments with fluorescent dye and rat neurons, the team was surprised to learn during LTP, recycling endosomes also carry lipid molecules along with other "cargo" proteins that can be used to expand synapses during memory formation.

"It's an exciting, essential finding," said Kauer. "The more we understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms behind memory, the closer we are to treatments for disorders that affect memory."

The hippocampus makes declarative memories recollections of facts, events and word meanings. Scientists believe that certain forms of mental retardation and diseases such as Alzheimer's are linked to nerve cell dysfunction in the hippocampus. The new research provides new targets for drugs or other treatments for these conditions.

Esther Penick and Jeffrey Edwards, postdoctoral research fellows in Kauer's lab, worked on the study as did Mikyoung Park, a Duke graduate student. The National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, and the Alzheimer's Association funded the research. Ehlers was also supported by a Broad Scholar Award.


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Contact: Wendy Lawton
Wendy_Lawton@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
23-Sep-2004


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