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Kynurenic acid accumulation underlies learning and memory impairment associated with aging

  • Author(s): Vohra, M
  • Lemieux, GA
  • Lin, L
  • Ashrafi, K
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2018, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. All rights reserved. A general feature of animal aging is decline in learning and memory. Here we show that in Caenorhabditis elegans, a significant portion of this decline is due to accumulation of kynurenic acid (KYNA), an endogenous antagonist of neural N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDARs). We show that activation of a specific pair of interneurons either through genetic means or by depletion of KYNA significantly improves learning capacity in aged animals even when the intervention is applied in aging animals. KYNA depletion also improves memory. We show that insulin signaling is one factor in KYNA accumulation.

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