Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Old Memories

Protein called lamin B1 important for neural stem cell division and memory declines with age but can be restored

19 May 2021

Old Memories

As we get older, many of us will find our memory starts to struggle a little. One reason for this is that our neural stem cells – cells in our brain that produce new brain cells throughout life – slow down their production. A new study has shown that this diminishing is precipitated by a reduction in a particular protein, lamin B1 (red in the mouse hippocampus pictured). Without it, as stem cells (blue) divide into two daughter cells, the usual process that carefully allocates any harmful lingering proteins is hampered. The resulting cells are less well equipped to produce new neurons, meaning we find new memories hard to form and old ones hard to grasp. Promisingly, providing extra lamin B1 restored stem cell division and new neuron production ramped up. If the approach could be applied in humans, it might delay many aspects of ageing, and protect our valuable memories.

Written by Anthony Lewis

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