A study conducted by scientists at the University of Warwick (UK) found that the absence of the protein MK2/3 promotes structural and physiological changes to cells in the nervous system. These alterations correlated with early signs of dementia, including restricted learning and memory formation capabilities.
Findings showed that the absence of MK2/3 did not prevent memories being formed, but it did prevent these memories from being altered.
“Understanding how the brain functions from the sub-cellular to systems level is vital if we are to be able to develop ways to counteract changes that occur with aging,” said Lead researcher and author Dr Sonia Corrêa in a release.
Because MK2/3 plays a vital role in memory formation, Corrêa suggests that there may be potential pharmaceutical implications for the treatment of cognitive deficits associated with aging and dementia.
Figures 1 and 2. MK2/3 regulates the shape of spines in properly functioning postsynaptic neurons. Postsynaptic neurons with MK2/3 feature wider, shorter spines (Fig.1) than those without (Fig2).