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Regulating Long-Term Memory Storage

Memories are initially stored in a fragile form. A process known as converts these short-term memories into stable long-term memories. requires changes in gene expression, which are regulated by molecules known as .

In this issue of the , researchers led by Ted Abel at the identified nuclear receptors that are important for in mice. In the hours after performing a memory-forming task, the mice had increased expression of the Nr4a family. Blocking the activity of these receptors prevented long term memory formation without impacting short-term memory.

Further, increased expression of Nr4a improved the effect of a memory-enhancing class of drugs known as histone-deacetylase inhibitors. This study demonstrates that the Nr4a receptor family contributes to memory formation and may serve as a therapeutic target for improving cognition.

“NR4A nuclear receptors support memory enhancement by histone deacetylase inhibitors”
Ted Abel
University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA


Journal of Clinical Investigation Sept. 10, 2012