HIV drug used to reverse age-related memory loss

By: | May 31st, 2022

Image by Pixabay

As we age, occasional memory lapses occur naturally as part of the aging process. These memory lapses are not a warning sign of mental deterioration or the onset of Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Now researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have discovered a new treatment for middle-aged memory loss.

They have identified a vital molecular mechanism behind memory linking and found a way to restore this brain function in middle-aged mice using an HIV drug.  Researchers believe that re-purposing the HIV drug could help strengthen human memory in middle age and prevent conditions like dementia.

Alcino Silva, professor of neurobiology and psychiatry at UCLA who is the author of the study said, “Our memories are a huge part of who we are,”

“The ability to link related experiences teaches how to stay safe and operate successfully in the world.”

Researchers found that a gene called CCR5 was responsible for reduced memory recall. They amplified CCR5 gene expression in the brains of middle-aged mice and found that it interfered with memory linking.

Once scientists deleted the CCR5 gene, the mice were able to link memories that normal mice could not.

So, what was the HIV drug used for?

The team found that the HIV drug maraviroc, approved by US FDA in 2007 could also successfully suppress CCR5 in the brains of mice.

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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