Low-intensity ultrasound restores long-term potentiation and memory in senescent mice through pleiotropic mechanisms including NMDAR signaling

Journal: Molecular Psychiatry

Published: 2021-05-27

DOI: 10.1038/s41380-021-01129-7

Affiliations: 3

Authors: 13

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Research Highlight

Therapeutic ultrasound boosts memory in aged mice

© slowgogo/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

© slowgogo/DigitalVision Vectors/Getty Images

Low-intensity ultrasound delivered to the brains of aged mice helped to strengthen synaptic connections and enrich memory function. A similar non-invasive treatment may, if confirmed clinically, enhance cognition in elderly humans.

Thirteen researchers, all at the University of Queensland, gave older, cognitively impaired mice six weekly sessions of ultrasound therapy. They also co-administered microbubbles to help promote the uptake of blood-borne factors into the brain — but it didn’t matter. With or without the microbubbles, the mice showed improvements in memory and spatial learning, as well as electrical activity in the brain indicative of bolstered synapse strength.

In contrast, earlier studies by the same group found that both microbubbles and therapeutic ultrasound were needed in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease to eliminate plaques and tangles in the brain and to restore memory deficits.

Further experiments are needed to determine the best therapeutic strategy to address human conditions of memory impairment.

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  1. Molecular Psychiatry (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41380-021-01129-7
Institutions Share
The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia 0.94
SUSTech-UQ Joint Center for Neuroscience and Neural Engineering, China 0.06