2012 Volume 88 Issue 6 Pages 266-282
The author focused on the functional decline of synapses in the brain with aging to understand the underlying mechanisms and to ameliorate the deficits. The first attempt was to unravel the neuronal functions of gangliosides so that gangliosides could be used for enhancing synaptic activity. The second attempt was to elicit the neuronal plasticity in aged animals through enriched environmental stimulation and nutritional intervention. Environmental stimuli were revealed neurochemically and morphologically to develop synapses leading to enhanced cognitive function. Dietary restriction as a nutritional intervention restored the altered metabolism of neuronal membranes with aging, providing a possible explanation for the longevity effect of dietary restriction. These results obtained with aging and dementia models of animals would benefit aged people.
(Communicated by Kunihiko Suzuki, M.J.A.)