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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Dec 28;107(52):22687-92. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1012851108. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

CBP gene transfer increases BDNF levels and ameliorates learning and memory deficits in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, and Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies, University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA.


Cognitive dysfunction and memory loss are common features of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Abnormalities in the expression profile of immediate early genes that play a critical role in memory formation, such as the cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB), have been reported in the brains of AD patients. Here we show that amyloid-β (Aβ) accumulation, which plays a primary role in the cognitive deficits of AD, interferes with CREB activity. We further show that restoring CREB function via brain viral delivery of the CREB-binding protein (CBP) improves learning and memory deficits in an animal model of AD. Notably, such improvements occur without changes in Aβ and tau pathology, and instead are linked to an increased level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor. The resulting data suggest that Aβ-induced learning and memory deficits are mediated by alterations in CREB function, based on the finding that restoring CREB activity by directly modulating CBP levels in the brains of adult mice is sufficient to ameliorate learning and memory. Therefore, increasing CBP expression in adult brains may be a valid therapeutic approach not only for AD, but also for various brain disorders characterized by alterations in immediate early genes, further supporting the concept that viral vector delivery may be a viable therapeutic approach in neurodegenerative diseases.

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