Scientists have recently found more and more unexpected effects of long-known drugs.
Sometimes the drugs used to treat one disease are effective in a completely different area. This is exactly such a case
The drug, which has shown effectiveness in improving memory, belongs to the class of histone deacetylase inhibitors, which are used for various purposes. This particular drug is called CI-994, and it is administered as an adjuvant to chemotherapy, increasing the effectiveness of cancer treatment. Other studies have shown that the drug can also improve cognitive functions in animals, but its mechanism of operation remained unknown.
In a new work, scientists of the Federal Polytechnic School Lausanne investigated exactly this unexpected effect. In a general associative memory test, the researchers used the contextual fear method to teach mice to be afraid of a certain event or object. When the mice were given CI-994, their memory “capacity” doubled, and they were able to perform tasks better compared to mice who studied without the drug.
But how does it work? To understand this, the authors studied the hypothesis that histone deacetylase inhibitors used the process of epigenetic priming – that is, they changed the expression of certain genes. In this case, the genes involved were associated with learning and memory.
RNA sequencing techniques have shown that the drug acts on specific genes that control synaptic plasticity-a process that allows neurons to form stronger connections to facilitate memory and learning. On these key genes, the drug made the base of chromosomes, called chromatin, more accessible, facilitating gene expression.