Environmental conditions strongly affect brain plasticity
Although tissue type plasminogen activator (tPA) and brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been extensively described to influence brain outcomes in a number of disorders, their roles during physiological aging are poorly investigated. In the present study, we investigated whether maintenance of mice in different environmental conditions could influence age-associated changes in hippocampal tPA expression and BDNF maturation in relation with modifications of their cognitive performances. Our data indicate that maintenance in enriched housing led to a reversal of age-associated decrease in expression of hippocampal tPA. A subsequent increase in the level of mature BDNF and an improvement in emotional and spatial memories were observed. Taken together, these data suggest that the tPA–BDNF axis could play a critical role in the control of cognitive functions influenced both by the age and housing conditions.
Optimal neuroprotection by erythropoietin requires elevated expression of its receptor in neurons
Environmental enrichment is an experimental model in which rodents are housed in complex environments that favor lower levels of anxiety-like behavior. PNU-282987 (PNU) is a α7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor agonist with beneficial effects on learning though its effects on anxiety are unclear.