Mimicking Age-Associated Gadd45γ Dysregulation Results in Memory Impairments in Young Adult Mice
SourceJournal of the Neurological Sciences, 40, 6, (2020), pp. 1197-1210
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of the Neurological Sciences
SubjectRadboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Age-related memory loss is observed across multiple mammalian species and preferentially affects hippocampus-dependent memory. Memory impairments are characterized by accelerated decay of spatial memories. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanisms underlying these deficits are still largely unknown. Here, we investigated the expression and function of the growth arrest DNA damage (Gadd45) family during aging and cognition, respectively. We report that aging impairs the expression of Gadd45γ in the hippocampus of cognitively impaired male mice. Mimicking this decrease in young adult male mice led to age-like memory deficits in hippocampus-dependent memory tasks. Gadd45γ reduction impaired the activity of key components of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway (p38 and JNK) in mouse hippocampal cultures. Furthermore, we found that activation of downstream targets, such as ATF-2, c-Jun, and CREB (cAMP response element-binding protein), was disrupted. Finally, we showed that Gadd45γ is required for induction of key early- and late-response genes that have been associated with aging. Together, these findings indicate that Gadd45γ expression regulates cognitive abilities and synapse-to-nucleus communication and suggest Gadd45γ dysfunction as a potential mechanism contributing to age-related cognitive impairments.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT A high percentage of subjects experience age-related memory loss that burdens daily performance. Although many advances have been made, the precise changes in the brain governing these deficits are unclear. Identifying molecular processes that are required for cognition and are altered during old age is crucial to develop preventive or therapeutic strategies. Here, we show that baseline and learning-induced expression of the growth arrest DNA damage (Gadd45) γ is selectively impaired in the hippocampus of aged mice with cognitive deficits. Next, we show that modeling this impairment in young adult mice with normal cognitive performance disrupts long- and short-term memories in an age-like manner. Finally, we demonstrate that Gadd45γ regulates synapse-to-nucleus communication processes that are needed for plasticity-associated gene expression.
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