Memory formed alongside brain signaling system

13 February, 2023

The brain’s ability to use lactate, a byproduct of sugar metabolism, to support neuronal signaling and memory formation traces back to genes that evolved well before the emergence of higher cognitive functions.

Over the last billion years or so, the genetic underpinnings of memory and lactate-mediated nerve signaling each gradually — and separately — grew in complexity before becoming linked, probably around 500 million years ago in our early backbone-bearing ancestors.

The findings, from Takashi Gojobori, Pierre Magistretti and KAUST colleagues, help to deepen scientists’ understanding of memory systems and could assist drug developers in discovering new lactate-directed treatments for memory disorders.

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