Existing cancer drug could improve memory and speed up learning

(ORDO NEWS) — Scientists have recently found more and more unexpected effects of well-known drugs.

Sometimes drugs used to treat one disease are effective in a completely different area. This is just such a case

The drug that has been shown to be effective in improving memory belongs to a class of histone deacetylase inhibitors that are used for a variety of purposes.

This particular drug is called CI-994 and it is administered as an adjuvant to chemotherapy, increasing the effectiveness of cancer treatment.

Other studies have shown that the drug can also improve cognitive function in animals, but its mechanism of action remained unknown.

Tablet for memory

In a new work, scientists from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne investigated precisely this unexpected effect.

In a general associative memory test, the researchers used the contextual fear method to teach mice to fear a particular event or object.

When mice were given CI-994, their memory capacity doubled and they were able to perform better on tasks compared to mice that learned without the drug.

But how does it work? To understand this, the authors explored the hypothesis that histone deacetylase inhibitors used an epigenetic priming process that is, altered the expression of certain genes.

In this case, the genes involved were associated with learning and memory.

RNA sequencing methods have shown that the drug acts on specific genes that control synaptic plasticity, a process that allows neurons to form stronger connections to facilitate memory and learning.

On these key genes, the drug made the backbone of chromosomes, called chromatin, more accessible, making gene expression easier.

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