Age-related cognitive impairment: Role of reduced synaptobrevin-2 levels in memory and synaptic plasticity deficits

Albert Orock, Sreemathi Logan, Ferenc Deak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Cognitive impairment in the aging population is quickly becoming a health care priority, for which currently no disease modifying treatment is available. Multiple domains of cognition decline with age even in absence of neurodegenerative diseases. The cellular and molecular changes leading to cognitive decline with age remain elusive. Synaptobrevin-2 (Syb2), the major vesicular SNAP receptor protein, highly expressed in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus, is essential for synaptic transmission. We have analyzed Syb2 protein levels in mice and found a decrease with age. To investigate the functional consequences of lower Syb2 expression we have used adult Syb2 heterozygous mice (Syb2+/-) with reduced Syb2 levels. This allowed us to mimic the age-related decrease of Syb2 in the brain in order to selectively test its effects on learning and memory. Our results show that Syb2+/- animals have impaired learning and memory skills and they perform worse with age in the radial arm water maze assay. Syb2+/- hippocampal neurons have reduced synaptic plasticity with reduced release probability and impaired long-term potentiation in the CA1 region. Syb2+/- neurons also have lower vesicular release rates when compared to WT controls. These results indicate that reduced Syb2 expression with age is sufficient to cause cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1624-1632
Number of pages9
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences
Issue number9
Early online dateJan 14 2019
StatePublished - Sep 16 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Brain aging
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Hippocampus
  • Neurotransmitter release
  • Synaptic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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