Maintenance of superior learning and memory function in NR2B transgenic mice during ageing

Xiaohua Cao, Zhenzhong Cui, Ruiben Feng, Ya Ping Tang, Zhenxia Qin, Bing Mei, Joe Z. Tsien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Brain ageing represents a general and evolutionarily conserved phenomenon and is marked by gradual declines in cognitive functions such as learning and memory. As a synaptic coincidence detector, the N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor is known to be essential for the induction of synaptic plasticity and memory formation. Here, we test the hypothesis that up-regulation of NR2B expression is beneficial for learning and memory in the aged animals. Our in vitro recordings show that the aged transgenic mice with the forebrain-specific overexpression of the NR2B subunit indeed exhibit more robust hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) induced by either high-frequency stimulation or theta-stimulation protocol. Furthermore, those aged NR2B transgenic mice consistently outperform their wild-type littermates in five different learning and memory tests, namely, novel object recognition, contextual and cued fear conditioning, spatial reference memory, and spatial working memory T-maze task. Thus, we conclude that increased expression of NR2B in the forebrain improves learning and memory function in the aged brain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1815-1822
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Brainageing hippocampus
  • LTP
  • Memory NMDA receptor
  • NR2B

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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