Millions of people worldwide suffer from insomnia. Well this news may certainly bring good news to insomniacs. A study from the University of Toronto claims that an insomnia problem could be fixed by obstructing an enzyme in the brain.
It is said that insomnia can cause both long-term and short-term memory challenges. The study alleges that cognitive deficits like memory loss caused by sleep deficiency may be undone by decreasing the concentration of a particular enzyme in the portion of the brain which is vital to memory and learning, called as hippocampus.
Professor Min Zhuo of physiology and his colleagues, Professors Miles Housley of the University of Glasgow and Ted Abel of the University of Pennsylvania used mouse models for the study. They observed that insomnia may impact a significant molecular pathway in the hippocampus. The sleep-deprived mice had augmented levels of the enzyme called PDE4 (phosphodiesterase-4), as well as decreased levels of a molecule called cAMP (Cyclic adenosine monophosphate).
Zhuo commented, “The molecule cAMP has a crucial role in forming the new synaptic connections required for learning. By inhibiting or blocking PDE4 in sleep-deprived mice, we were able to increase cAMP concentration.”
Not only did jamming PDE4 and increasing cAMP concentration develop learning, it apparently also thwarted memory loss due to lack of sleep. The outcome increased the outlook of new PDE4-blocking, cAMP-enhancing therapies that could alleviate the effect of sleeplessness on humans and enhance memory.
The study was published in the current issue of Nature.