Mouse models of Bardet-Biedl Syndrome (BBS) have a challenge with learning as a result of dysfunctional neuronal systems in the brain’s hippocampus. Now, a treatment involving lithium may reverse those mental defects according to a study published in PLOS genetics.
What is BBS? It is a rare genetic disease that results in intellectual disability, visual loss, kidney issues, and obesity among other symptoms. It is considered a ciliopathic disease. Cilia are tiny finger-like cellular projections that hep with the movement of material on a cells surface.
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In the recent study, scientists have showed that normal mice can be effectively trained to associate a specific environment to a fearful event. However, with mice exhibiting BBS they have a much harder time with memory. These studies found that the learning challenges are a result the hippocampus inability to make new neurons. When treated with lithium, mice had increased cell production and improved learning and memory.
"A mouse model of a cilia disease, Bardet-Biedl Syndrome, has impaired fear memory and hippocampal neurogenesis. In this mouse model, lithium treatment improves fear memory and hippocampal neurogenesis."
Source: Science Daily