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Thursday 27th October 2016

'Key to memory loss' could be Arc protein

10th June 2013

A part of the brain called the hippocampus plays an important role in long-term and spatial memory.

But scientists have now discovered more about the role of brain protein, Arc, and it’s instrumental role in translating learning into long-term memories.

Dr Steve Finkbeiner, professor of neurology and physiology at the University of California, who led the research, said that the work has shown that the role of the Arc protein is crucial.

"Scientists knew that Arc was involved in long-term memory, because mice lacking the Arc protein could learn new tasks, but failed to remember them the next day," he said.

Further experiments have revealed that Arc acts as a "master regulator" of the neurons during the process of forming long-term memories.

Dr Finkbeiner said people who lack the protein could have memory problems.
"Scientists recently discovered that Arc is depleted in the hippocampus, the brain's memory centre, in Alzheimer's disease patients.

"It's possible that disruptions to the homeostatic scaling process may contribute to the learning and memory deficits seen in Alzheimer's."

The study suggested that same protein may also be a factor in autism.
There is a hope that further research into the role of Arc could help in finding new ways to fight neurological diseases.

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