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2012 Grants - Takehara-Nishiuchi
Physiological Basis of Memory Impairments in Rat Model of Early-Stage Alzheimer's Disease
Kaori Takehara-Nishiuchi, Ph.D.
University of Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2012 New Investigator Research Grant
Impairment in memory is often one of the first symptoms observed in people with early-stage Alzheimer's disease. In the brain, the first region affected by the disease is often the entorhinal cortex, which is connected to regions that are important for memory. The mechanisms by which degeneration of the entorhinal cortex cause memory impairment in early-stage Alzheimer's disease are not well understood.
Kaori Takehara-Nishiuchi, Ph.D., and colleagues have been studying the nerve signals in the entorhinal cortex and in the parts of the brain to which it is connected. They have observed that oscillations (repetitive and rhythmic activity) in the entorhinal cortex correspond to oscillations in connected regions involved in memory formation. Dr. Takehara-Nishiuchi has proposed to extend these studies to examine how degeneration of the entorhinal cortex affects these oscillations.
Dr. Takehara-Nishiuchi and colleagues plan to use mice that have been genetically engineered to express Alzheimer's-like disease specifically in the entorhinal cortex. By recording nerve activity in animals of different ages, the researchers will document how the progression of degeneration affects the oscillatory activity associated with memory formation. They also plan to test whether drugs to prevent degeneration can prevent declines in this nerve activity. These studies may improve our understanding of the causes of memory impairment in early-stage Alzheimer's disease, and may identify treatments to prevent or slow the progression of disease.