Brain News: Alzheimer’s disease progressively deteriorates brain cells, memory and cognitive function. A new study by scientists from Japan shows that oxytocin – a hormone that induces feelings of love and well-being – can also effectively reverse some of the damage caused by Alzheimer’s in animal model.
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder characterised by slow degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. Brain studies involving patients suffering from Alzheimer’s showed that Amyloid plaques are aggregates of misfolded proteins formed in the spaces between nerve cells. These plaques play a key role in the disease and affect the learning, communication and memory center of the brain.
A team of scientists from Japan, looked at Oxytocin, which was recently found to be involved in regulating learning and memory performance. Oxytocin is a female reproductive hormone involved in childbirth and breastfeeding and induces feeling of love and well-being.
To investigate the effect of oxytocin on synaptic plasticity, researchers prepared acute hippocampal slices and perfused them with amyloid β or Aβ – to confirm that Aβ causes the signaling abilities of neurons in the slices to decline their synaptic plasticity – in the absence and presence of oxytocin.
In perfusion with oxytocin, the signaling abilities increased, which indicate that oxytocin can reverse the impairment of synaptic plasticity that Aβ causes. Oxytocin plays an important role in strengthening neuronal signaling potential and formation of memories.
Professor Akiyoshi Saitoh from the Tokyo University of Science said, “This is the first study in the world that has shown that oxytocin can reverse Aβ-induced impairments in the mouse hippocampus.”
The study results are promising and oxytocin could be a novel therapeutic modality for the treatment of memory loss associated with cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
To Know More, You May Refer To
Takahashi, J., Yamada, D., Ueta, Y., Iwai, T., Koga, E., Tanabe, M., Oka, J., & Saitoh, A. (2020). Oxytocin reverses aβ-induced impairment of hippocampal synaptic plasticity in mice. Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, 528(1), 174-178. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbrc.2020.04.046