Scientists activate memory building enzyme

Published: 12th June 2013 07:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th June 2013 07:53 AM   |  A+A-

What happens when we forget? In diseases like Alzheimer’s, remembering basic details about who we are, where our home is and whether  the man standing close by is the husband, become arduous tasks that cannot be fathomed.

But, what if we had a pill to help us remember? The research of a couple of scientists in the city may make this a reality.

Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awardee Professor Tapas Kundu and Prof M Eswaramoorthy, along with their research groups at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research, Bangalore, have figured out a way to activate an enzyme that builds memory.

Kundu designed a molecule about 10 years ago that will kick into action chemicals in the brain that are necessary for making memory.

But now, Eswaramoorthy’s group of researchers have figured a way to deliver this molecule to the brain by tagging it to a nano particle, one-thousandth the width of a human hair, of glucose-based carbon.

“We have found that the molecule supports neurogenesis, that is, the growth of new cells in the brain. We are confident that these molecules can be be used in therapy of neuro degenerative diseases,” Kundu said.

Eswaramoorthy and his group facilitate this with the nano particle, that was seen to cross the blood brain barrier.

 By attaching the activator molecule to it, the researchers managed to effectively reach the brain of mice and activate the acetyltransferase enzymes there.

Kundu is a bit worried about using the glucose based particle to send the activator molecule to the brain, as it can be broken down in the body quite easily.

Sorting this issue could be crucial for human trials.Kundu has collaborated with Dr Anne Laurette Boutillier’s group in Strasbourg, France for furthering this study.

They have also shown through experiments with mice, that the activator molecule actually increases the enzyme activity in the brain that helps build memory.

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