In a recent study led by Dr. Steve Clapcote of University of Leed’ School of Biomedical Sciences, researchers studied the effects of phosphodiesterase-4B-inhibitor on cognitive and behavioural functions on mice. What they found was very exciting.
The researchers altered a gene to inhibit the activity of an enzyme Phosphodiesterase 4B in the mice’s brain. The enzyme phosphodiesterase inactivates a signal tranducing molecule in the cells which goes by the name C-AMP(Cyclic Adenosine Mono Phosphate). By inhibiting the 4B isoform of the enzyme, the concentration and half life of the C-AMP could be increased. This will make the signal transducing molecule act for longer. The PDE4B inhibited mice were found to have enhanced cognitive activity. They tended to learn faster, remember longer and solve complex problems with greater ease. For example, the “super-mice” could recognise another mice quicker, took lesser time to escape from the Morris water maze and showed less anxiety. The PDE4B inhibited mice were bold enough to show decreased fear response to cat urine.
Although the study was conducted among mice, the enzyme PDE4B is also present in humans. Researchers believe that PDE4B inhibitor drugs could be a way to treat brain disorders in humans like Alzheimers, schizophrenia and post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD).