Extensive death of nerve cells may no longer be considered as a major event in the process of normal ageing of the nervous system (except in pathological conditions). In addition, the ageing brain and nerves retain sufficient plasticity for regeneration. This means that treating normal age-related dysfunctions of the nervous system, such as memory loss, will become possible. Indeed, research carried out in the laboratories of the partners has shown that age-related memory deficits and abnormalities of myelin sheaths (which isolate nerve fibres) can be reversed by the administration of neurosteroids (steroids which can be locally synthesised in the nervous system). Two complementary therapeutic strategies will be explored:
1) Increasing the local synthesis of neurosteroids by agonists of themitochondrial benzodiazepine receptor;
2) administering selective neurosteroidcompounds.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
DD1 9SY Dundee
CB3 0ES Cambridge