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JNeurosci: Highlights From the December 14 Issue
15 December 2016
Society for Neuroscience (SfN)
Check out these newsworthy studies from the December 14, 2016, issue of JNeurosci. Media interested in obtaining the full text of the studies should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Working Memory Decline Linked to Loss of Specific Receptor in Rats
Working memory, the ability to hold a piece of information in mind for a short time, is essential to general cognitive ability and often deteriorates as we get older. Previous studies implicate receptors for the neurotransmitter glutamate in working memory function. In a new study in rats, researchers find glutamate receptors containing a specific protein subunit are required for working memory, with the loss of these receptors linked to working memory impairments. The results suggest therapies to precisely target these receptors may help improve working memory in older adults.
Two-Way Communication Between Brain and Blood Vessels
An increase in brain activity triggers an increase in blood flow, ensuring a steady supply of oxygen and energy to the brain. In a new study using brain tissue from mice and rats, researchers find the communication between the brain and blood vessels is a two-way street during normal, resting conditions. Increases in blood pressure constrict blood vessels and diminish the baseline rate of neural firing, while decreases in blood pressure increase neural firing. The researchers propose this is a neuroprotective strategy, enabling neurons to adjust their baseline activity so they don’t exhaust energy supplies.
Receptor Targeted to Treat Insulin Resistance Also Involved in Stress Response
Pioglitazone, a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, attenuates insulin resistance by binding to specific cellular receptors. Recent evidence indicates these receptors — called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, or PPAR-gamma — may help regulate immune function in the central nervous system. In a new study, researchers find the receptors also play a role in the stress response: stimulating the receptors with pioglitazone reduced stress-induced anxiety in mice. The results suggest treatments stimulating PPAR-gamma may be beneficial for stress and anxiety disorders.
The Journal of Neuroscience is published by the Society for Neuroscience, an organization of nearly 38,000 basic scientists and clinicians who study the brain and nervous system.